1980s Bob Mackie Ivory Sequin & Nude Stretch Net High Slit Dress
This dress is instantly recognizable as having been designed by Bob Mackie. Mackie was best known for dressing Cher and for his undying love of opulence and bead work, both of which he incorporates heavily into the best of his designs. He worked for both Edith Head and Jean Louis prior to working as a costume designer and co-designing with Ray Aghayan. That led to his incredible journey in designing for stars like Cher and Diana Ross for many years. In some ways he and his creations defined their careers and that era of glamour. I think he secretly always designed for the big screen and the bygone glamor of Hollywood as his work is always over the top and extravagant. This dress has the added provenance of being the twin of the one recently worn by Tracee Ellis Ross on a 2020 episode of Blackish where she portrayed Cher.
This is an amazing dress that is heavily sequinned and extremely sexy and flattering once on. The base of the gown is made of a nude stretch silk netting that has a pattern made up of beautiful curving bands that feel like they are wrapped around you like flames. Mixed into this is an elaborated detailing made of faux pearls that curve down the front of the dress and highlight that very high set slit at the front. The pearl embellishments travel upwards right to the neckline and even run down each sleeve. The designs that you see are made up of ivory coloured sequins hand set in curving bands. White and silver tube beads are set vertically to create an edge around each of those curving bands. Additional silver sequins and even some rhinestones are scattered in between. This combination of the glass tube beads and sequins give the gown an extra layer of texture and glamour as every inch of it catches the light and sparkles. As a result the dress has a decent weight to it when it is off of the body because of that extensive bead-work, and yet once on the body it lies and drapes in a way that it is balanced and not at all unwieldy. The bodice is cut to skim over the chest with a high, slightly angled neckline. The sleeves are cut straight and lined with an additional layer of nude silk to really show off the design that trails down and around each sleeve. The waist is brought in just slightly so that there is a bit of shape created but there is no horizontal seam to break the lines of the design. The skirt is incredible and is cut on a curve so the back is longer then the front and it wraps around you to that high, wide slit at the front. The effect of this is far more dramatic and fabulous on a real body and it really shows off the legs. If you even remotely love it in the photos you will dance when you see it in person as it is so, so, so much better in real life. Extremely well made and made to demi-couture standards. These were sent to the stores with a full lining made of a nude silk chiffon and you could remove this if you wanted a true nude, semi-see through dress that Mackie is so well known for. Excellent condition.
Fully lined in a nude silk through the body and the sleeves have a more transparent nude chiffon lining. It closes with a painted metal and nylon back zipper. Hand finished throughout. Slight padding in each shoulder and zippers on each cuff. Perhaps the occasional bead missing but no bare areas. In person it is a touch more of a cream. It does have some stretch and the measurements below are the comfortable range laying flat.
Bust: 18-19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13-15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18-20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 56" from neck to longest point of back hem
Slit: approx 24" from front hem up
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.