Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mackie Runs This Town Like Bugsy Siegal

My birthday is TODAY!!!  The Boyfriend and I are going on a Vegas getaway with a few friends.  Priority #1 while we visit the city of sin is JUBILEE!  This show has been a main stay on the Vegas strip since 1981, the very same year I sprung to life!  That's right... I'll be turning 30 in LAS VEGAS!!  We have it all planned out.  We'll be at the Saturday show, dead center, at one of those swanky tables they reserve for their "baller" customers.

Bally's Casino, that hosts the show, also has a backstage tour 3 times weekly where you can see the inner workings of this Las Vegas icon.  This tour has been my dream since the moment I heard it existed!!  I want to see the rhinestones, sequins and feathers up close.  Why would anyone want to see those costumes you ask? 


Now pick yourself up off the floor and I can continue!  This show is a throw back to the old shows of Paris and Broadway with the Folies Bergere and the spectacles produced by Ziegfeld.  I have a feeling the grandeur of this show is going to bring me to tears!  This show proves Bob Mackie is a genius.  It's insane to think that the costume designs are going to be 30 years old and the ideas look as fresh as the day they were sketched.  It would seem Mackie's designs were intended for another time. This gives the costumes their dreamy vintage feeling.


I was born in the wrong decade.  If only I could have been there to help Bob Mackie with these costumes!  Click the pictures... They get much bigger and there is nothing wrong with THAT!
-Philip Estrada

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Simply Red

This illustration was submitted for a concept and presentation class project back in college.  The class was basically a sculpture class to help one think "outside of the box".  The assignment was to "illustrate a book."  How we chose to do that and which book was entirely up to us.  I was already accepted into the Fashion Design Department at that time so I submitted high fashion paper dolls as my "sculpture". 

The book I illustrated was the play 'Titus Andronicus' by William Shakespeare.  Honestly I was obsessed with Julie Taymore's movie "Titus" so I redesigned costumes for all the characters.  This is Tamora: Queen of the Goths.  How epic would this look on stage? 

This costume would be for the scene in which she delivers an astounding soliloquy where she swears her revenge on Titus and his family during the celebration of her marriage to the new emperor.  The powerful and bold red color would match the tone of the speech.  The bold jewelry, hair style and tribal tattooing makes reference to her old life as queen of a "barbaric" people.

When Mr. Mackie takes on another costume design job I would love to be right there beside him along the way.  I could research costume history, swatch fabrics, scan sketches into photoshop for digital corrections, go on coffee runs; my uses are endless!

I look forward to getting started!
-Philip Estrada

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Happy Birthday to Miss Carol Burnett!

Costume sketch for the "Carol Burnett Show"

A gown designed by Bob Mackie for "The Carol Burnett Show"
- Philip Estrada

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Star Was Born

Today is the 69th Birthday of Miss Barbra Streisand.  In her honor enjoy these costume design sketches from her appearance on "The Judy Garland Show" from 1963.  The looks were designed by Ray Aghayan and were illustrated by his assistant.  You may have heard of him.  His name is Bob Mackie.

Happy Birthday Barbra!  You're our favorite Funny Girl.

- Philip Estrada

A Very Mackie Easter!

In honor of Easter and the beginning of Spring I would like to share with you Bob Mackie's floral hats from 1992.  They are so jaunty and fun just like Spring!  I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday!


- Philip Estrada

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baby It's You

The boyfriend and I scored a couple free tickets to a preview performance of "Baby It's You" opening soon on Broadway.  This is the all new musical based on Scepter Records founder, Florence Greenberg's involvement in creating the all girl group The Shirelles.  At one point in the show The Shirelles were named the #1 Girl Group of ALL TIME!  Inevitably times changed and they had to step aside when Diana Ross and her Mackie-clad Supremes marched into town.  Oh Diana and the Supremes... how awesome were they?!

Sadly the show wasn't all that exciting. The songs didn't stay with you like other shows.  In my opinion the best number was actually the Dionne Warwick character singing "Walk On By." 

We must change the subject to happier thoughts, such as:

A trio of Motown beauties decked from head to toe in the sweet sweet Mackie goodness!  This is from Diana Ross and the Supremes - GIT On Broadway; a TV special with The Temptations in 1969.  Here they perform a couple songs from Porgy & Bess for your enjoyment. 

I need to get a job with Mr. Mackie ASAP.  When I watch this video my only thought is how fun it would have been to sequin those gowns!  I got sparkles on the brain!

-Philip Estrada

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mad For Mackie

 This little show called "Mad Men" will be beginning to film its 5th season after the "powers that be" finish sqabbling over money.  You may have heard of the program, it's on AMC, that's a basic cable channel.  One of the many beautiful aspects of this show is the Janie Bryant designed costumes.  Season 4 of “Mad Men” took place in 1966 and the gang looked as slick and sexy as ever.
2 of Aghayan's desgins for Judy illustrated by Bob Mackie

TV in the 60s brings to mind the designers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.  The costume designers of TV shows worked much like the movie designers of that time.  The difference being that all of the actors’ clothing had to be designed and made on a WEEKLY basis!!  Luckily a young Robert Mackie was there to save the day.  Mr. Mackie’s first break was as Ray Aghayan’s assistant on “The Judy Garland Show” in 1963.  His main responsibility was to illustrate Aghayan’s designs.   Could you imagine how a call like that would have gone between Bob and his headhunter? 

As well as working with Aghayan on other projects Bob Mackie also began designing various projects on his own.  His 1960s highlights include: designing a Flying butterfly costume for Lucille Ball for the first episode of the “Danny Thomas Show”, Episodes of “Hollywood Palace” and the TV Special “Mitzi” starring Mitzi Gaynor.

Costume Illustration for Lucille Ball on the Danny Thomas Show

Being that Mr. Mackie worked extensively on TV through the 60s and 70s I feel he would be an amazing resource for the costume team on “Mad Men”.  What better way to get information than from the original source?  I have a feeling Bob may still have some of his original gowns or sketches in storage.  Since Mr. Mackie owns a custom costume shop it would be easy for him to fabricate anything Janie may need for wardrobe.  A collaboration by these two designers could be great for the shows aesthetic as well as a PR bonanza for both parties.  If needed I can be called in to take notes, help with the sewing, and cater to their every need.  I am a VERY valuable worker.
What do you guys, the die hard "Mad Men" fans think?  Thoughts?

-Philip Estrada

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Here Comes the Royal Bride

In case you've been living under a rock for the past year let me be the first to tell you, Prince William is getting married!  So Princess Diana's first born nabbed himself some chick named Catherine Middleton.  Congrats Little Buddy!

Bob Mackie sketched up this AMAZING gown to show how he envisioned the soon to be princess to look on her wedding day.

This sketch is exactly what weddings exemplify!  The design is elegant and just dramatic enough.  It recalls memories of the Helen Rose designed wedding gown of Grace Kelly.  The sketch also nods lovingly to the Cecil Beaton embassy ball gown Audrey wore in "My Fair Lady".  I love the beautiful subtle gold embellishments in organic feather motifs all over the train bottom of the main dress.  The feather designs on the bodice make me think of angels' wings wrapping around her body.  There are no other words for this design other than "Breath Taking!"

I can't wait to start working on this with Mr. Mackie!  We better hurry though, the wedding is approaching FAST!

-Philip Estrada

Reason #4 Bob Mackie Should Hire Me

Reason #4 - Dreams

I HAD A DREAM!  Last night actually.  A Dream that not only starred Bob Mackie, but was costumed by the man as well.  Clearly I am so committed to Team Mackie that my subconscious is right there with me.

Picture it!  There I was standing on the stoop of my building.  It was a nice mild Spring day. The block was empty except for a man walking toward me.  As he got closer I realized it was none other than Bob Mackie.  We struck up a conversation and he was as nice as ever.  I told him that I was going to Las Vegas in 2 weeks for my 30th birthday.  Also I told him how and how super excited I was to have gotten tickets to see ;Jubilee!',  featuring his iconic showgirl designs. 

Then suddenly I was on an old timey pirate ship standing next to Bob Mackie's BFF, Cher.  At first I was a bit disoriented.  I didn't even have time to tell Mr. Mackie about the blog or beg for a job!  Not only that, but he must have thought I was insanely rude for just leaving without saying "Good day, Sir!"  However I wasn't really complaining.  It was nice to be hanging out with Cher on the high seas.  It was only a few minutes until the ship ran aground on the shore.

The pirate costume Mr. Mackie designed for Cher's "Believe" tour.
Photo via some random Flickr account.

Sorry for the small image but I just love the sketch of Cher as a pirate.... YARRRR!

Cher and I jumped off the ship and ran onto the beach which was extremely populated with tourists.  When we made it onto dry land I noticed that she magically changed outfits.  She was now wearing the red version of the "Take Me Home" bugle beaded outfit.  Unsurprisingly, I love every version of this outfit Bob ever made Cher.  Now at this point I couldn't keep up with Cher.  The beach and boardwalk were teeming with drag queens dressed as different versions of Cher.  Being as nice as she is (I assume), Cher insisted on running up and taking a photo with each and every single lady-boy.  That's when I woke up with a giant smile on my face. 

Talk about dedication!  The fact that I would gladly be Cher's wrangler while I sleep has got to be easily one of the BEST reasons for Bob Mackie to hire me!

- Philip Estrada 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Inspired by the 20s

This lovely sketch was inspired by the roaring cocktail parties of the 1920s.  I've always been preoccupied by this era.  I draw a lot from the creativity, artists and designers of the art deco movement.  Erte and J.C. Leyendecker are just a couple of examples of such inspiration to emerge from that period.  Some of the most beautiful movies are set in the 1920s like, "The Great Gatsby", "Thoroughly Modern Millie", "The Cotton Club" to name a few. 

This ensemble could be a one piece cocktail dress or a tunic and skirt set.  The top would look amazing in Pewter colored silk with gold, shaped panels applied in the sun burst motif.  The Gold panels will then be encrusted with shiny antique brass beads.  The red contrast panel would be inset and decorated with additional brass beads.  The skirt would be finely pleated black silk satin and hit just at the knees.  This approach would easily allow one to roll your stockings down to apply a little rouge!

- Philip Estrada

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just Plain Cher

I think it's high time that I address Bob Mackie and Cher's 40 year collaboration.  How awesome is it that they kept working together?!  It must be because their fabulocity skills are unmatched by man or beast.  It could also be one of those "with our powers combined, we will be unstoppable" situations, and so far it pretty much has been.  Trust me... no one is complaining.

This amazing Cher costume sketch was worn during the song "Ain't Nobody's Business" from her "Monte Carlo Show" which was televised from the Sporting Club of Monte Carlo, right on the water, in 1980.  Cher shared the billing with the second in command of the Kingdom of Rhinestones,  Liberace.  Could you imagine such a show?  I would have been freaking out every second!  Screaming like a school girl and fake fainting everytime there was a costume change.  It would have been a life changing experience.

A photo from Cher's performance.

 Cher and Liberache
(I can not confirm that this is from "The Monte Carlo Show")

The beginning of the show when she changes into the ensemble.

The second section of the show including the outfit and a quick change to a new Mackie!

The wrap and sketch were auctioned off in 2010 and each fetched over $4,000.  The highest I could go on the wrap was $3,999... bummer.

I wonder if there is anyone out there on the interwebs that was at this auction... or the performance!  If so PLEASE share your stories!

-Philip Estrada 
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