Long before Kendall Jenner channeled Rose McGowan in beaded La Perla and Rihanna made the world turn in jaw dropping, almost completely transparent Adam Selman (covered in hundreds of thousands of Swarovski crystals) at the 2014 CFDA Awards, there was one woman who rocked the world with the original naked dress. Enter: Cher, who stripped down when style was less about a PR stunt and more about direct expression of self.
Cher worked with designer Bob Mackie from the late ’60s onward and together, they explored some of the boldest looks ever seen. Take the feather sleeved, beaded nude dress that Cher wore to the 1974 Met Gala, for instance. The look was almost completely sheer. Cher didn’t wear pasties and she didn’t cover anything up. At the time, this wasn’t just eye-catching, it was actually shocking. The artist wore the same dress on the cover of Time magazine later that year, and several cities reacted by banning it.
Cher’s piece de resistance—her iconic 1988 Oscars look—was the nude, jewel-encrusted gown she slid into for her Moonstruck Best Actress win. The dress was completely transparent and looked like a veil of black netting with some very well-placed beading. “We look back now and those designs seem amazing and fantastic, but it’s important to remember that the moment Cher stepped out of the limousine and into the spotlight, it wasn’t instantly known that what she was going to wear was going to be acceptable and not laughed at,” FIDM curator Kevin Jones once said.
Along with the feather mohawked piece the performer wore just two years earlier, Bjork’s literal swan dress, and Halle Berry’s semi-nude Elie Saab worn for her Best Actress win in 2002, the naked Cher Oscar dress goes down in history as one of the most controversial and now celebrated Academy Award looks.
“Forty years ago, everyone thought, Oh, she’s so strange, so weird, so big and gawky. Well, I saw a beautiful little girl and thought, I can work with that. That became part of the attraction of the television show: How naked was she going to be?” said Bob Mackie of his muse.
The woman herself has always been honest about why she dresses the way she does. “We were weird hippies before there was a name for it, when the Beatles were wearing sweet little haircuts and round-collared suits,” Cher once said of her arrival on the scene with her longtime partner Sonny. “The Rolling Stones were the only ones who understood us. People hated us here; we had to go to Europe to become famous. We influenced a generation, and it’s like: What more do you want? Actors don’t take me that seriously, either. So, I always thought, I’m not an actor; I’m not a singer; I’m somewhere in between. And I’ve always felt like an outsider, so it doesn’t bother me anymore. I like that status, truthfully.”
The icon, now in her 70s, still rocks daring looks designed by Mackie. She was a pioneer in performative style—why not for the public perception of age, too?END
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createdAt:Wed, 28 Feb 2018 14:56:33 +0000