The Hollywood Reporter has posted a very interesting and insightful interview with Cher on what she thought of her Oscar outfits. It seems she definitely knew what she was doing when she strutted (no, owned) the red carpets the years she attended the Academy Awards, adorned in Bob Mackie creations. What other Oscar outfits do we remember better, or at all? Her flamboyant feathers, beads and bare midriff are the stuff of legend. When fashion pundits and trade pubs like WWD bemoan the lack of creativity on Oscar night, it often is followed by a sigh of nostalgia for the heady, fearless days of Cher.
Her Oscar outfits (“I was dressing to go to work — presenting is work,” she explains) from the 1970s to her most recent gig in 2000 did not have to face today’s critical cacophony of the Internet, but even if they did, “I would do exactly what I wanted to, no matter what.” Sighs Cher: “I mean, I thought we were inshow business. People can say I dressed like a fool, I don’t have good taste. It’s not about good or bad clothes; it’s about freedom. People in our business do things that are out of the ordinary, so why seek approval? God knows every one of them has enough money to wear what they want!”
Reminding her that many actresses get paid a hundred grand or more to wear major-but-often-bland European couture makes her laugh. “Good on ‘em,” says the superstar, who will appear in April as a guest programmer on TCM for a new Friday night show, Women in Film.
Decades before designers, media and stylists held sway over what A-listers wore — when it was cooler to make a statement than to avoid the worst-dressed list — Cher reigned on a less conventional red carpet. “I remember men in velvet, even color. I would think young women now would want to get crazier. Of course, I came from the music world,” recalls Cher, whose dating history, including David Geffen and younger man Rob Camilletti, raised as many eyebrows as how little she wore. “You know what I say? If you want to look the same as everyone else, you should be going to the Seatback Convention — not the Oscars.”
Here are some of Cher’s previous Oscar outfits and what she had to say about them…
“I was presenting with Sonny [Bono, her then-husband and music partner]. That was pants and a chiffon-y top. Bob Mackie made it out of sari material and added the beads. I hadn’t worn it yet for The Sonny and Cher Show. We were presenting toMarvin Hamlisch [center, with Debbie Reynolds], and I called him the wrong name! I couldn’t read the cards; I was dyslexic. And he didn’t even seem upset! No one took the pomp all that seriously then.”
The ‘Tame’ One
“In ’80, Val Kilmer and I [with her son Elijah] had just started dating. We’re still friends; he came to my house for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. That dress was pretty tame for me, although it was see-through. I weighed 108, so I could pretty much wear anything. That’s what Bob told me all the time — that I was a big Barbie doll.”
The Beaded One
“I went with Val when I was nominated [for supporting actress] for Silkwood, my first Oscar nomination. That was a plain-beaded dress Bob made me, but it was so beautifully made. Someday he’ll get the recognition he deserves. He made a lot of these dresses for me in a week because he had a dress figure in my shape in his studio. That night, I had braces on. It was a little awkward. I was trying to straighten my teeth! I don’t think too many people realize that from the photos.”
The One With the Mohawk
“Oh, yeah, the Mohawk year. You don’t have to like it — I liked it. I didn’t get a nomination for Mask, and everyone said it was because I didn’t dress like a serious actress. Well, I did not get that pamphlet! I wanted to be a member of the Academy, but I could not be a member of the Academy and not belong to myself. I was more interested in just having a good time. You have to be voted in by someone, and afterSilkwood and Mask, eventually I was. … The hair may have been distracting, but the dress was all cashmere. It was a piece of art, a truly beautiful thing. Another thing about that night: I had one blue eye and one brown eye — one contact lens. I’ve never told anyone that before. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
The Winning One
“That was the year I won [best actress] forMoonstruck. Bob made a beautiful dress, and I had this hairdo by Renate Leuschner — I think I actually wore my own hair that night. The way it would work with Bob is that I would go to his studio and say, ‘I would like to do this,’ and he’d say, ‘OK, let me see how I can interpret this.’ He might give me three versions. With this, he wanted it to look like the beads were on me, not the fabric. I was dating [producer] Josh Donen, and I kept saying to him, ‘No matter what I wear, will you be OK with me?’ He kept saying, ‘Yes, sweetheart.’ Oscar night, I walked out in my outfit, and I thought he was going to pass out. We got there, and his father,Stanley Donen, said: ‘Josh, what a girl! You gotta give it to her!’ Then Josh was OK. … When Jane Fonda saw me, she just laughed like crazy.”
The Short One
“I had won the year before, so this time I was presenting best actor. I was with Rob Camilletti. It was a little short dress, a corset top and swingy skirt, with fishnets and Valentino pumps that I wore till they fell apart. Was it irreverent that I wore a short dress to the Oscars? I don’t think that’s so important. It’s like you can’t wear patent leather after a certain month, you have to cut your hair after a certain age — who are those people who get to tell you what to do? I think I’ve been doing what I want for so long that when it comes to clothing, it doesn’t even occur to me to do anything else. You dress because it makes you feel and look good; you don’t dress to fit in.”
The One She Didn’t Like
“I liked the hat and had all kinds of time to tell Bob I didn’t really like the dress, but I didn’t realize how much till I walked out the door.”
The Bedazzled One
Cher attended the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in this jean jacket and beaded pants combo.
Lets hope we see heaps more CHER Oscar appearances in the coming years!!