The Designer Who Put Tina Turner in Those Hemlines
The cardinal rule of dressing Tina Turner, the designer and costumer Bob Mackie stated Wednesday evening, was “you couldn’t cover anything up.”
Her legs had been merely “too beautiful.”
Mr. Mackie, 84 and dealing on costumes for Pink’s upcoming tour, met Ms. Turner in the Nineteen Seventies when she was a visitor on the “Sonny & Cher Show.”
He was a university dropout who early in his profession labored for the famed costume designer Edith Head. From there, Mr. Mackie went out on his personal, designing costumes for stars similar to Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett after which Cher.
He and Ms. Turner acquired to know one another towards the top of her marriage to Ike Turner, the person whose abuse she suffered for round 20 years, earlier than she walked away with nothing however a white, bloodstained Yves Saint Laurent pantsuit, two Jaguars and her final title. (Even that, Mr. Turner tried to remove from her in court docket.)
She had been spending time in Europe (the place she later moved) and, as a result of there wasn’t a lot of a price range, Mr. Mackie stated, “she would go to the Left Bank and buy inexpensive cocktail dresses, bring them in and say ‘Will you help me with these?’ I didn’t know what she meant, but then she would step into them and I would bring the scissors.”
The Turner/Mackie which means of “more” quickly grew to become clear: much less cloth.
Mr. Mackie additionally started designing shimmering attire for her in pink and gold, with stretching flames that lined her nipples. He knew the thought was successful when different celebrities started requesting attire that regarded like those he was creating for Ms. Turner.
“I got a call from Raquel Welch. She said, ‘I want a dress like Tina Turner would wear.’ I had never really designed for Raquel Welch. I said, ‘I’d love to do that.’ A couple weeks later Tina calls me, and she says, ‘I just saw Racquel Welch wearing a dress I’d love to have.’ And I had to laugh,” he stated, talking by cellphone from his residence in Palm Springs. “So I told her the whole thing. Tina thought it was great. She loved that those women were paying attention to her and what she wore.”
The group of girls included Cher, who in 1977 carried out with Ms. Turner on the “Sonny and Cher Show,” doing a rendition of “Makin’ Music Is My Business,” in matching pink and gold attire.
“It just worked,” he stated, describing how Cher and Ms. Turner “vibrated off each other.”
But the seven-year stretch between the breakup of Ms. Turner’s marriage and the 1984 launch of her hit album “Private Dancer” was not simple. “She was going from variety show to variety show, trying to stay away from Ike, hiding really. It was a scary time,” Mr. Mackie stated.
It was additionally the period of Studio 54 and Paradise Garage, and Ms. Turner lined the Trammps’ “Disco Inferno.” So, for her performances — many at barely tacky resorts with casinos — Mr. Mackie made a shimmering silver robe with pleated, Targaryen dragon-wide wings.
Another Mackie confection was a zebra print costume with a tail on the again.
Initially, the thought of including the tail made Ms. Turner “a little nervous,” he stated. (And certainly, it’s onerous to think about that type of factor being authorized by anybody now). But the tail was “great,” he stated, the way in which it swung back and forth as she swayed her hips.
When Ms. Turner pivoted to rock ’n’ roll in the early ’80s, Mr. Mackie was prepared with the black leather-based.
Between the video for “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and a slot opening for The Rolling Stones on tour, she become a world famous person.
Although Mr. Mackie helped create the Tina Turner look, she was not unique to him.
In 1985, she carried out with Mick Jagger on Live Aid, carrying a leather-based bustier and miniskirt designed by Azzedine Alaïa, a pricey good friend of Ms. Turner who was generally referred to in trend circles because the King of Cling. (Mr. Jagger in the end ripped the skirt off. Which Ms. Turner took in stride, saying later that it was all a part of his sense of play.)
In 1989, Ms. Turner did the duvet shoot for the album “Foreign Affair” carrying a darkish, fitted Alaïa costume that hardly reached the highest of her thighs. In one shot, she might be seen hanging from the Eiffel Tower, gripping its iron construction, as if strutting up it. And the way in which Ms. Turner in addition to the photographer Peter Lindbergh later recounted, that was her thought.
Never thoughts the absence of a security internet or Ms. Turner’s refusal to take off her heels. As Mr. Mackie famous, a defining trait of her persona was fearlessness.
In the approaching years, she toured relentlessly and appeared in trend exhibits for Mr. Alaïa. (One motive Ms. Turner moved to Europe, she later stated, was that it was the place the place she was as “big as Madonna.”) And when Mr. Mackie was in the identical metropolis, they’d have dinner.
Sometimes, Ms. Turner and Mr. Mackie had been collectively as a result of he was engaged on costumes for one in all her excursions. She was a clotheshorse in her personal proper, too. She usually arrived to work “dressed to the nines in simple loafers and gaberdine pants,” he stated. Then, she would rehearse in full costume, turning into “a whole ’nother woman,” solely to point out as much as dinner carrying yet one more outfit.
In 2005, Mr. Mackie equipped Beyoncé with a flaming pink costume for her tribute to Ms. Turner on the Kennedy Center Honors. Ms. Turner sat in the balcony, smiling down as Beyoncé did a rendition of “Proud Mary.” (Ms. Turner was carrying a beaded floral robe that was extra demure than her stage costumes.)
Mr. Mackie additionally labored with Ms. Turner on her 2008 tour, which was billed each as a fiftieth anniversary of her profession — and a farewell tour.
After it ended, she started to expertise well being problems and spent extra time in Europe.
Mr. Mackie stated he hadn’t seen her in years.
One of his final reminiscences of her was again in rehearsal for the 2008-9 tour. Toni Basil had been employed because the choreographer, however there was Ms. Turner, teaching all of the dancers on how one can do the strikes simply as she did. “There was nothing like watching Tina Turner give a class to the girls on how to be Tina Turner,” he stated.