My name is Philip Estrada, and I am a New York City based fashion designer. Throughout the past five years, my fashion career has been focused on women's denim. However, I like to design women's bridal gowns, prom dresses, and elaborate costumes whenever I get the chance. To be honest, I’ve been thinking lately about what I would really like to be doing for the rest of my career. When I ask myself, “whose career do I look up to?”, the one name I’ve been coming back to time and time again is Bob Mackie.
I did get the rare honor of meeting Mr. Mackie in 2001 while I was attending design school in Los Angeles. I called his costume shop in order to see if they could identify some sketches he may have illustrated. The gentleman on the other line was more than happy to invite me down to the shop so he could tell me if Bob drew them. I asked if he was that familiar with Mackie's work and career, and he said "Of course! I AM Bob!" I was floored! So we spoke for a bit more and coordinated a time for me to stop by. Before I hung up the phone, Bob told me in passing to bring my portfolio too. I mean REALLY?! The ‘Raja of Rhinestones’ was gonna take time out of his day to just shoot the breeze with a 19 year old kid AND look over his college level portfolio?!
When I showed up I asked to see Bob. He met me out front where he quickly ID’ed the sketches as being his work and then invited me to take a tour of his facility, lead by himself, Bob Mackie. Who does that?! He showed me his work table where he still sketches in Prismacolors and behind him were all the Barbie (registered trademark of the Mattel Corp.) patterns. So at this point I felt like I was on some sort of acid trip gone awry. I thought, “This can't be real?”, but it kept on going. He showed the room where the little ladies were beading a gown. Then, we walked past a magenta fox fur cocoon coat on a dress form where he stopped to show me the narrow strip of beading inserted between the pelts. He said, "You can't even see it, but I'm a masochist." SO CHARMING!
After the tour, we sat at his work table where he went through my portfolio. He was very complimentary of my sketches and ideas. Even if he was patronizing me... I didn't care. My idol was looking at my book!
I will never forget that meeting and it fuels my inspiration and attitude toward the fashion industry to this VERY day. He's at the top of his fashion career while still being nice and personable. He's smiling at his coworkers and sitting at his desk doing his own illustrations. This dude is my hero! Therefore, I have set up this blog in an effort to show my idol how much I respect him and how much it would be an honor to be given the opportunity to work for him.