Aghayan, Ray 1934–
AGHAYAN, Ray 1934–
Full name, Reymond G. Aghayan; born July 29, 1934, in Tehran, Iran; immigrated to the United States, 1952, naturalized citizen, 1957; son of Hain and Jasmin (maiden name, Frendian) Aghayan. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A. Politics: Democrat.
Career: Costume designer and producer. Also designer of clothing for retail stores.
Member: Costume Designers Guild.
Awards, Honors: Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual achievement in costume design, 1965, for The Wonderful World of Burlesque II; Emmy Award, outstanding individual achievement in costume design, 1967, for Alice through the Looking Glass; Bronze Medal, French Board of Trade, 1967; Prestige Award, French lace industry, 1967; Costume Designers Guild awards, 1967, 1968; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual achievement in visual arts, 1968, for Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey on Broadway; Academy Award nomination, best costume design, 1969, for Gaily, Gaily; All American Press Association Award, 1969; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best costume design, 1970, for Applause; Phoenix Art Museum award, 1970; Academy Award nomination, best costume design (with Bob Mackie and Norma Koch), 1972, for Lady Sings the Blues; Academy Award nomination, best costume design (with Mackie and Shirley Strahm), 1975, for Funny Lady; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual achievement in costume design for a limited series or special, 1982, for The 55th Annual Academy Awards Presentation; Emmy Award, outstanding individual achievement in costume design for a variety or music program, 1987, for Diana Ross ... Red Hot Rhythm and Blues; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual achievement in costume design for special events programming, 1988, for The 60th Annual Academy Awards Presentation; Emmy Award, outstanding costume design for a variety or music program, 1992, for The 64th Annual Academy Awards Presentation; Emmy Award nominations, outstanding costume design for a variety or music program, 1995, for The 67th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, and 1997, for The 69th Annual Academy Awards Presentation.
Television Costume Designer; Specials:
An Evening with Fred Astaire, 1958.
Another Evening with Fred Astaire, 1959.
The Dick Van Dyke Special, 1963.
(With Bob Mackie) It's Greek to Me, 1964.
The Wonderful World of Burlesque II, 1965.
Robin Hood, 1966.
Carol Channing and 101 Men, 1967.
Royal Follies of 1933, 1967.
Alice through the Looking Glass, 1967.
Carol Channing Presents the Seven Deadly Sins, 1968.
Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey on Broadway, 1968.
NBC Follies, 1973.
Diana Ross ... Red Hot Rhythm and Blues, ABC, 1987.
Television Costume Designer; Awards Presentations:
The 48th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, 1976.
The American Fashion Awards, 1976.
The 55th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, 1982.
The 60th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1988.
The 62nd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1990.
The 63rd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1991.
The 64th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1992.
The 65th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1993.
The 66th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1994.
The 67th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1995.
The 69th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1997.
The 70th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1998.
The 71st Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1999.
The 73rd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 2001.
Television Costume Designer; Series:
The Judy Garland Show, CBS, 1963.
The Leslie Uggams Show, CBS, 1969.
The Jim Nabors Show, syndicated, 1970–1971.
The Smothers Brothers Show, CBS, 1975.
Also designed costumes for The Carol Burnett Show, CBS.
Television Costume Designer; Episodic:
"Diana's World Tour" (also known as "Diana Ross at Wembley Hall"), HBO World Stage, HBO, 1989.
Television Costume Designer; Other:
33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee, 1969.
Television Work; Movies:
Executive producer, The Tenth Month, 1979.
Producer, Consenting Adults, 1985.
Television Producer; Series:
(With Dick DeLeon) The Diahann Carroll Show, CBS, 1976.
Film Costume Designer:
(Uncredited) Father Goose, Universal, 1964.
Do Not Disturb, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1965.
The Art of Love, 1965.
The Glass Bottom Boat (also known as The Spy in Lace Panties ), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1966.
Our Man Flint, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1966.
Caprice, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1967.
Doctor Dolittle, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1967.
In Like Flint, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1967.
Gaily, Gaily (also known as Chicago, Chicago ), United Artists, 1969.
Hannie Caulder, Paramount, 1971.
(With Bob Mackie and Norma Koch) Lady Sings the Blues, Paramount, 1972.
(With Mackie and Shirley Strahm) Funny Lady, Columbia, 1975.
(Uncredited) Himself, Every Girl's Dream, 1966.
Stage Costume Designer:
(And director) The Lady's Not for Burning, Carnegie Hall Playhouse, New York City, 1957.
(With Ret Turner) Vintage '60, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, 1960.
The Egg, Cort Theatre, New York City, 1962.
Eddie Fisher at the Winter Garden, Winter Garden Theatre, New York City, 1962.
Catch My Soul, 1966.
Applause (musical), Palace Theatre, New York City, 1970–1971.
(With Bob Mackie) On the Town (musical), Imperial Theatre, New York City, 1970–1972.
(With Mackie and Alvin Colt) Lorelei; or, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (musical), Palace Theatre, 1974.
Also designed costumes for productions of Brigadoon, Caesar and Cleopatra, Candida, Darkness at Noon, Kismet, Little Mary Sunshine, and Paint Your Wagon.
Stage Costume Designer; Major Tours:
Applause, U.S. cities, 1971–1972.
(With Bob Mackie) Lorelei; or, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, U.S. cities, 1973.
Born: Robert Gordon Mackie in Monterey Park, California, 24 March 1940. Education: Studied advertising and illustration at Pasadena City College; costume design at Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1958-60. Family: Married Marianne Wolford in 1960 (divorced, 1963); children: Robin. Career: Sketch artist for film designers Frank Thompson, Jean Louis, and Edith Head, 1960-63; worked in television as assistant designer to Ray Aghayan, receiving his first screen credit for The Judy Garland Show, 1963; designer for The King Family Show, 1965, Mitzi Gaynor's night club acts, from 1966, The Carol Burnett Show, 1967-78, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, 1971-74, and The Sonny and Cher Show, 1976-77; designed swimwear for Cole of California, 1976; independent designer of ready-to-wear fashions, with own label Bob Mackie Originals, New York, from 1982; created 1950s costumes for Moon Over Buffalo, 1995; introduced fall collection, 1996; designed 1970s costumes and scenery in the Cleveland San Jose Ballet's Blue Suede Shoes, 1997; designed late-1960s costumes for musical Pete & Keely. Awards: Emmy award, 1967 (with Ray Aghayan), 1969, 1976, 1978, 1985; Costume Designers Guild award, 1968; American Fashion award, 1975. Address: Bob Mackie Originals, 225 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001, USA
Dressing for Glamor (with Gerry Brenner), New York, 1979.
Morris, Bernadine, and Barbara Walz, The Fashion Makers, NewYork, 1978.
Maeder, Edward, et al., Hollywood and History: Costume Design in Film, New York, 1987.
Pecktal, Lynn, Costume Design: Techniques of Modern Masters, New York, 1993.
Stegemeyer, Anne, Who's Who in Fashion, Third Edition, New York,1996.
DeCaro, Frank, Unmistakably Mackie: The Fantasy and Fashion of Bob Mackie, New York, 1999.
Thomas, Kay, "Spotlighting Two Designers Who Took Broadway byStorm," in the New York Daily News, 28 November 1971.
"Bob and Ray," in Newsweek, 11 June 1973.
Moore, Didi, "Designing Man," in US, 19 January 1982.
Rittersporn, Liz, "Bob Mackie: The World's Most Visible Designer," in the New York Daily News, 5 May 1985.
Oney, Steve, "Bob Mackie: Daring, Dazzling Designer to the Stars," in Cosmopolitan (London), April 1986.
Milbank, Caroline Rennolds, "Bob Mackie," in Interview (NewYork), December 1986.
Michaels, Debra, "Bob Mackie: Cashing in on the Glamor," in WWD, 19 April 1988.
"Bob Mackie," in Current Biography (New York), October 1988.
Mansfield, Stephanie, "Bob Mackie, the Boogie-Woogie Bugle Bead Boy of Seventh Avenue, Wants to Be Taken Seriously," in Vogue (New York), February 1990.
Finke, Nikki, "Trouble in the House of Mackie," in Vanity Fair, June 1993.
Chase, Anthony, "Designer Sketchbook: Moon Over Buffalo," in TCI (New York), November 1995.
Schiro, Anne-Marie, "Into the Evening with Elegance," in the New York Times, 2 April 1996.
Slingerland, Amy L., "Blue Suede Shoes," in TCI (New York), March 1997.
DeCaro, Frank, "Fashion Chat," in TV Guide, 22 March 1997.
"Bob Mackie," in People, 16 February 1998.
Barbour, David, "ED Designer Sketchbook: Stayin' Alive," in Entertainment Design (New York), February 2001.
Szabo, Julia, "All Hams on Deck," in the New York Times Magazine, Spring 2001.***
Bob Mackie is one of a handful of designers to work with success in the related but disparate fields of theater and fashion design. He is probably best known for the wittily revealing, glamorous beaded and feathered ensembles he designed for actress and singer Cher since the early 1970s. This collaborative image remains so strong that to visualize Cher is to see her dressed by Mackie. His true genius as an interpretative designer, however, can best be seen in his work for comedian Carol Burnett.
For 11 years, Mackie designed costumes and wigs for Burnett's weekly variety show, including full-scale production numbers to showcase guest artists in elaborate parodies of such classic cult films as Sunset Boulevard or Mildred Pierce. These character sketches were written for Burnett's company of regular performers, with ongoing stories starring Burnett as one of her various alter egos. In Mrs. Wiggins, for example, Mackie and Burnett created the archetypal "keep busy while doing nothing" secretary, complete with overlong fingernails, brass spittoon-colored perm, stiletto heels, and a skirt so tight walking seemed doubtful and sitting impossible. In this case, the costume first defined the character and thus gave direction to the ensuing scripts. Visually, audiences were led away from the personality of the performer and toward that of the character portrayed. In contrast, Mackie's designs for guest artists always enhanced their visual trademarks, so their personalities remained the focus, supported by wig and costume, even when they played comic or character roles.
When he turned to ready-to-wear in 1982, Mackie's name had been before the television viewing public for 15 years. Women who had admired the casual but elegant tailored outfits Burnett wore to open and close her show or the dramatic allure of Cher's gowns formed an eager and ready market for the first designs from Bob Mackie Originals. The fashion press took rather longer to convince that the aptly dubbed "sultan of sequins, rajah of rhinestones" had the necessary seriousness of purpose to sustain a career on Seventh Avenue. Yet Mackie has always designed day and evening clothing in addition to his theatrical work. As early as 1969, he and partners Ray Aghayan and Elizabeth Courtney established their Beverly Hills boutique, Elizabeth the First, which in turn spawned the short-lived wholesale firm Ray Aghayan/Bob Mackie.
In his 1979 book, Dressing for Glamor, Mackie states his belief that glamor is "a state of mind, a feeling of self-confidence." His strength as a designer is an intuitive understanding of what makes a woman feel self-confident and well dressed—solid craftsmanship, attention to detail, clothes that combine wit and artistry with a sense of flair and drama.
In 1995 Moon Over Buffalo took to the stage. With Mackie's outstanding costume design and makeup artistry, the Broadway production became a hit. Directed by Tom Moore, the play featured Carol Burnett and Philip Bosco yearning for Hollywood careers. It takes place in the 1950s, in a time where actresses never went anywhere without being made up. Mackie had his work cut out for him: costumes were bold in color and contrasted with room schemes. Referring to a purple-and-white ensemble and a bright green suit, Mackie says, "Those colors are accurate to the period. Clothes were a lot more flamboyant in the 1950s than we're used to seeing now."
In March 1997 TV Guide sat down with Mackie to discuss the importance of shock value in fashion. "It gives you something to talk about at the office the next day," the designer explained. But when it comes to hairstyles, Mackie said to stick with what you know, "It's like on your wedding day, don't try a new hairdo. You should look like yourself. My idea of a real movie star is someone who you know who they are, no matter what they play or where they are."
With costuming Vegas showgirls, disco divas, Cher, and numerous Broadway productions in his past, Mackie took his career to a new and different level—ballet. Danced to master recordings of Elvis Presley songs, the Cleveland San Jose Ballet's Blue Suede Shoes was the first project in which Mackie designed not only costumes but the sets as well. He is, in fact, one of the few costume designers who has expanded his work into set design.
Responsible for 230 costumes and 12 sets, Mackie's flashy style fit right in with the 1970 trends. With men in bell-bottomed pantsuits and showgirls in brightly sequined body stockings, the show's well-deserved applause speaks for itself. In the off-Broadway musical Pete & Keely, Mackie once again nailed the era—the 1960s—perfectly in his designs.
Renowned for costume design after costume design and even set design after set design, Mackie is the first to admit he can't take all the credit. The modest legend claims, "I was showing lingerie while everybody else was showing evening gowns. I was rather well known because of all the people I dressed at the time." That may be true, Mackie, but now perhaps, you're the reason others become known.
updated by Diana Idzelis
Bob Mackie was born in Monterey Park, California, on 24 March 1940. He attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, but left after only two years to begin his career in costume design. In 1963 he teamed up with the costume designer Ray Aghayan for the television series The Judy Garland Show. For this project Mackie received his first screen credit and established a long working relationship with Aghayan. Mackie went on to design all the costumes for The Carol Burnett Show (1967–1978), while continuing to work on other television projects, such as The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (1971–1974). Throughout his career Mackie specialized in designing wardrobes for TV specials. His celebrity clientele brought him to Las Vegas, where he designed costumes for headliners and showgirls alike. Mackie has also provided costumes for numerous theater productions. His distinguished career has included seven Emmys and three Academy Award nominations. Over the course of four decades, he has dressed a dazzling array of celebrities including Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Madonna, and RuPaul.
Two pervasive elements in Mackie's work are glamour and humor. His costumes for The Carol Burnett Show were instrumental to the program's character-driven comedy sketches. A perfect example of this is the "Starlett O'Hara" gown made of green velvet drapes—complete with curtain rod—which played a pivotal role in the "Went with the Wind" skit. The script had not called for the curtain-rod sight-gag, but the result was pure comedy genius and undoubtedly led to the skit's designation as one of "TV's Fifty All-Time Funniest Moments" by TV Guide. The Carol Burnett Show also provided Mackie
In 1971 Mackie began work on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, a series that amply displayed his distinctive design vision. Cher had met Mackie in 1967 when she was a guest on The Carol Burnett Show and asked him to provide costumes for her that would create a more mature, glamorous image. Cher's physical presence and her persona enabled Mackie to showcase his flamboyant designs without seeming too extreme. About her remarkable ability to wear his designs, Mackie once remarked: "There hasn't been a woman in the limelight since Garbo or Dietrich who could pull off such outrageous visual fantasies while maintaining her individual beauty" (Mackie, p. 176). The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour proved to be a ratings bonanza, since viewers tuned in weekly to see what Cher was wearing. Using nude soufflé, a soft spongy fabric and strategically placed beads, Mackie's designs drove network censors and viewers wild by showcasing her long, slender torso with cropped tops and low-slung beaded skirts. Her costumes were dripping with beads, feather, and fur, but Cher wore them with graceful nonchalance, as easily as if she were wearing a pair of blue jeans. With tongue firmly in cheek, she gamely accepted being dressed as a harem girl, an Indian princess, and even a snake. Cher is credited with making the "Mackie look" famous when she appeared on the cover of Time magazine in his nude soufflé gown in 1975.
Bob Mackie's collaboration with Cher continued over the decades, and his designs for her became an integral part of her image. He has provided the memorable wardrobes for her many public appearances, including her 2002 Living Proof—The Farewell Tour. Tending toward the outrageous, he dressed her as Cleopatra for the launch of her fragrance, Uninhibited, and a "Mohawk Warrior" for the 1986 Academy Awards he provided the sheer catsuit worn in her infamous "If I Could Turn Back Time" music video. This ensemble, which gave viewers a good look at Cher's tattooed derriere, was criticized as too risqué for daytime television, appearing on MTV only after 10 p.m. and sparked a national debate about decency standards. The "Mohawk Warrior," with its bare midriff and high-feathered headdress, shocked many at the Oscars presentation, but for Cher, who felt snubbed by the Academy for not being nominated for her role in the film Mask, it pushed all the right buttons. Creating controversy through her choice of costume, Cher stole the show. Of Mackie's designs she once remarked, "After we started working together, he just knew what I'd like. He walked the line between fashion and costume and that's my favorite place to go" (Decaro, p. 67).
Mackie made the natural evolution into fashion design in 1982 when he launched a line of high-end ready-to-wear; today his empire includes furs, home furnishings, fragrance, a line of clothing sold on the cable shopping channel QVC, and a thriving made-to-order business. In 1990 Mackie began designing a highly successful line of collectible Barbie dolls for Mattel featuring his trademark style.
In 2001 Bob Mackie was honored with a special award for his "Fashion Exuberance" by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). This was a particularly apt tribute, since Mackie's lighthearted design philosophy has often run counter to the prevailing whims of fashion. Shrewdly understanding that the public associated his name with outrageous luxury and opulence, Mackie remained true to his aesthetic even at the height of early 1990s grunge. The beads, feathers, and furs that had been such an important part of his costume designs were translated into high fashion with heavily beaded evening dresses and dramatically draped chiffon gowns. His irreverent sense of humor, seen in so many of his costume designs, is also an important element in his fashion designs. This humor has translated into bugle-beaded wetsuits and jackets adorned with miniature racing cars. Mackie's whimsical approach to fashion is particularly apparent in a beaded minidress from 1988, which featured a trompe l'oeil beaded "bandana" at the halter-style neck. Never afraid to push a design concept to the limit, the cowboy-inspired dress was accessorized with a ten-gallon hat, boots, and gauntlets.
In 1999 Cher was honored with a CFDA award for her influence on fashion, an influence created largely by Mackie's extraordinary vision. Through the power of television, Bob Mackie has made an important contribution to popular culture and helped to keep old-fashioned Hollywood glamour alive into the twenty-first century.
DeCaro, Frank. Unmistakably Mackie: The Fashion and Fantasy of Bob Mackie. New York: Universe Publishing, 1999.
Mackie, Bob, with Gerry Bremer. Dressing for Glamour. New York: A & W Publishers, 1979.
McConathy, Dale, with Diana Vreeland. Hollywood Costume: Glamour, Glitter, Romance. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1976.
Morris, Bernadine. The Fashion Makers. New York: Random House, 1978.
Reilly, Maureen. California Couture. Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing, 2000.
Stegmeyer, Anne. Who's Who in Fashion. New York: Fairchild Publications, 1996.