Cher’s ‘Nude’ Dress Recalled As Bob Mackie’s Most Iconic Designs Hit The Auction Block

The legendary designer says Cher and Carol Burnett had the same body, but only Cher would go ‘nude.’

Music icon Cher
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The legendary designer says Cher and Carol Burnett had the same body, but only Cher would go ‘nude.’

Some of Cher’s most iconic outfits could be yours. The music legend’s iconic Bob Mackie-designed 1974 Academy Awards silk ensemble—a cape, bandeau top with a scarf, and low-waisted layered skirt— is up for auction at Julien’s, as part of the Icons and Idols: Hollywood, Street and Contemporary Art auction, according to a press release from the famed auction house.

In addition, a spaghetti strapped jersey gown worn on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (estimate: $3,000–$5,000) is up for grabs as are two other outfits from the 1970s variety show the singer starred in with her then-husband Sonny Bono, including a marigold jersey jumpsuit (estimate: $3,000–$5,000) and a large Mother Goose costume worn by the “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” singer in a famous skit with Better Midler.

The auction of Mackie’s designs also includes iconic outfits worn by Carol Burnett on The Carol Burnett Show, where Mackie worked in the 1960s and where he first met Cher, who later hired him to create outfits for her on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Mackie, who is still working with the music icon 50 years later on Broadway’s The Cher Show, revealed that Cher and Carol Burnett had the same body type.

“Oddly enough, they’re so different and yet there’re so many things about the two of them that are exactly the same. They’re both smart and both have great instincts, and yet they were the same exact size. You’d never think they had the same figure. If Carol thought it would be too naked, she’d be, ‘Nnnnaaa.’ Cher, she’d put anything on.”

One of Mackie’s most famous designs for Cher was the “nude” dress that she wore to the 1974 Met Gala.

When Mackie asked her what she wanted to wear to the high-profile event, the singer said, “I wanna wear my nude dress,” referring to the sheer beaded gown with white feathered sleeves, matching feathered trim, and little else.

“And she wore it. And, of course, she was in every newspaper the next day. She’s not a dumb girl.”

Of that famous “nude dress,” Mackie told Vogue the design caused a major stir when Cher was photographed wearing it on the cover of Time magazine in the early 1970s.

“It created a lot of hubbub,” Mackie said of the dress, which is still owned by Cher and is not part of the auction. “In those days, Time reserved its covers for world leaders or someone who invented something important, like a vaccine. Then there was Cher on the cover in that incredible piece of clothing, and newsstands sold out of it almost immediately. Some cities even banned it from being sold.”

Julien’s Icons and Idols: Hollywood, Street and Contemporary Art auction kicks off November 17.