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When Fashion (Week) Was Fun: A Look Through Bob Mackie's Fashion Week Legacy

The following was written by fashion student and social media administrative assistant to Bob Mackie Design Group, Hannah Jane Duncan.

In celebration of Fashion week here in the wonderful city of New York, We also wanted to celebrate Bob’s presentations in the past. Those upbeat, colorful, and theatrical shows were one of a kind and always will be to the world of fashion. Bob always knew how to give his audience an unforgettable time with the suspense of what was to come next and the surprises that came with the amazement that was already felt. Don’t you just miss his presence at NYFW? I know we do!

Bob began his career as a costume designer for multiple television shows. Soon after, he also began to exclusively design for celebrities. As he continued his career through the 60’s and 70’s, Bob decided to start creating ready-to-wear collections for all women to enjoy. In 1982, Bob began his 20-year career in ready-to-wear.

Bob’s Collections have always held many significant themes and bright colors, which is what has always been so distinguishing about him. “If a woman is going to wear a black dress she’s going to mix in with all the people wearing black tuxedos-- the men.” Clearly, he liked his women to stand out.

In 1987, Bob’s collection was inspired by Hollywood movies he’d seen as a child such as fantasy, western, pirate, and jungle movies. Models came down the runway as if they were on an adventure in their cowgirl boots and tasseled jackets, feather hats and eye masks, and don’t forget those sizzling hot ball gowns!

Years later in 1993, the “Viva Las Vegas!” themed show consisted of striped fitted dresses, lots of sequins, vibrant gowns, and those surreal jackpot fruit hats! Oh and of course—the models as well as the audience were always having fun! It was like an upbeat, glamorous night on the town. 

In 2001, Bob’s collection was different than most of what he has done in the past-- a mysterious glamour theme. It began with women in black coats, head pieces, and sun glasses. The slow paced music picked up as the models start to come out in short lace dresses and those wonderful feather boas; then came the elegant and graceful gowns. And just as you think the show is going to end, the truly theatrical gowns come down the catwalk!

Bob’s Fashion shows were not only fashion, they were fashion, theater, Hollywood, and most of all they were Bob himself. His individual take on the world around him was processed through his mind and onto the runway, sharing with us a part of his wonderful fantasy world.

What's your favorite Mackie fashion moment? Let us know in the comments below


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