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Lost in a Disco Dream: Cher’s 70s Fashion Escape

Cher's enduring legacy tells a story of rebellion and Hollywood legend. Together with her trusted partner-in-style, Bob Mackie, she has crafted an aesthetic that blends opulence, sparkle, and lots of classic 70s fringe.

Though not without criticism, she was a pioneer of risqué fashion. Her sheer, sequin-studded tops and barley-there dresses pushed the boundaries of what was considered too revealing at the time. Her self-titled show CHER! spanned two seasons and twenty-nine episodes, winning four Emmys, and Bob Mackie being nominated for an additional two in 'Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design.'

Among the many ravishing costumes, Miriah Wegener takes a look at some select looks from the show, each encapsulating the essence of Mackie’s work.

11/2/75 — Episode 22

Our host begins the show by throwing off a vibrant rainbow boa, unveiling a breathtaking sheer floor-length gown. Clusters of iridescent circular fringe are the only thing censoring her body. I just can't get this look off of my mind.

05/04/1975 — Episode 12

In a fiery red dress with an over-the-shoulder tear-drop design, Cher charmingly expresses her love for “dressing up strange and making people laugh.” Then, in a sweet moment later in the episode, she sings a rendition of You Are So Beautiful to her daughter, Chastity.

02/16/1975 — Episode 2

During an incredible I'm a Woman performance with Raquel Welch, both icons wore custom-made gowns embellished with dazzling topaz and white faceted glass, with rows of gold bugle beads connecting to their center-slit skirts.

02/16/1975 — Episode 2

Cher concludes her performance of You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You with a pre-Mariah high note, wearing a stunning pink and red dress, embellished with strings of bugle beads cascading across her chest.

4/06/75 — Episode 8

Mid opening number, Cher throws off a bubblegum-coloured boa to reveal a purple one-sleeve halter top and matching low-rise skirt, both dripping in sparkling fringe.

4/13/75 — Episode 9

“If this doesn’t get you moving, nothing will!”

In a must-see routine, our star performs a Jamaican reggae medley while dancing in white fringed pants and a matching halter top. A feathered cowboy hat appears for a split second before being tossed aside.

5/11/75 — Episode 13

In true Cher fashion, mid-song she throws off a white fringe shawl, unveiling a shimmery mermaid corset gown. She would end up repurposing this dress for her wedding with Greg Allman later that same year.

2/12/75 — Episode 1

In the campiest move of 1970s television, a performance starring Cher, Elton John, Bette Midler, and Flip Wilson creates a disco dream. Surrounded by a kaleidoscope of balloons, and not to be outdone by her set, our host wears a sheer high-slit bedazzled dress with a matching headpiece.

3/16/75 — Episode 6

In her monologue, Cher jokes about a decision she made an hour ago to quit smoking. Bob Mackie demonstrates his mastery by fashioning a golden yellow dress that almost looks like it's worn reversed.

3/2/75 — Episode 4

Cher opens the show, singing By Myself in a dazzling black dress with embellished flowers down the skirt and a sparkling design over the right shoulder.

"Until you're ready to look foolish, you'll never have the possibility of being great." — Cher

Cher showcased an aesthetic that was classy yet controversial. In Bob Mackie's midriff-baring costumes, she was one of the first stars to show her belly button on television, causing quite a stir in the press. Bob remembers, "She was never intimidated by anything… It just never occurred to her that it was vulgar…."

Though the show ended nearly fifty years ago, red carpets still hold the weight of Cher's 70s impact. Who knows what her fashion legacy would look like today if she hadn't formed a close relationship with Bob Mackie and dared to put on a show.

Words by Miriah Wegener

(@miriahsarah on IG)

Edited by Lucy Eaton

(@llucyeaton on IG)


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