7 of Cher’s most iconic outfits
The inimitable singer not only invented the naked dress, but is the ultimate 70s style icon.
Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage; Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images.
For nearly half a century Cher has not only been dazzling us with her talent and creativity, but also her exceptional style. Often elaborate and risk-taking in nature, Cher’s beaded, feathered, and sequined outfits have continued to make a statement even decades later. They have also been a precious source of fashion inspiration for a younger generation of modern-day celebrities who continue to reference her looks — especially her naked dresses — whether walking the red carpet or performing on screen.
On The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Show, circa 70s
Cher had countless costumes — such as this shimmering fuschia evening gown complete with matching wedge heels — made throughout The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Show, which was on air from 1971 through 1974. Intricately detailed and strikingly unique, Cher’s ensembles were made by the famous costume designer Bob Mackie and continue to inspire both designers and celebrities alike today. Cher met Mackie a few years earlier when she was a guest star on The Carol Burnett Show and the pair are still collaborating today. In fact, Mackie was recently nominated for a Tony award for Best Costume Design of a Musical for his work on the new Cher-inspired Broadway hit, The Cher Show.
In a “naked dress” at the Met Gala, 1974
Cher wowed the world with her 1974 Met Gala look, which was dubbed the “Naked Dress” and was created by none other than Bob Mackie (whom she also walked the red carpet with). Cher went on to wear his creation on the cover of TIME magazine in 1975 as well, immortalizing the distinct design. Over four decades later a more contemporary rendition of this dress was worn by Kim Kardashian at the 2015 Met Gala. Kim was inspired by Cher’s iconic 70s dress and worked with Peter Dundas at Roberto Cavalli to create their own version of it.
At the Academy Awards, 1973
Dressed in a sequined gold two-piece, Cher made her Oscars debut alongside Sonny Bono in 1973 to present the Best Song Original for Picture award to the composers of the disaster film The Poseidon Adventure. Cher’s midriff-bearing awards look continues to populate Instagram moodboards and resonate with young Hollywood even years later (Kim recreated this look for Halloween in 2017 too).
With Elton John at the Rock Music Awards, 1975
At the Rock Music Awards in 1975 Cher wore a sequined ensemble with a barely-there bodice to present fellow musician, Elton John, with an award for Rock Personality of the Year. This 70s sequin two-piece look is one of Cher’s most referenced outfits. Emily Ratajkowski even put her own spin on the iconic number, with a very ‘naked’ two-piece designed by Peter Dundas, for the 2019 Met Gala.
The “Dancing Flames” Dress, 1978
Cher was photographed in 1978 by Los Angeles-based photographer, Harry Langdon, in a Mackie costume known as The Dancing Flames dress. The design was later worn by not only one but four other superstars — Tina Turner, RuPaul, Beyonce and Lynda Carter. We stan a gay icon.
For the 58th Academy Awards, 1986
For the 58th Academy Awards, Cher presented the award for Best Supporting Actor wearing a sequined and feathered Mackie ensemble complete with towering headdress. The choice was exceptionally daring as it was a stark contrast to the simple gowns that were usually seen at award shows during that time. Providing inspiration for years after it was worn, the outfit also opened the door for more fearless red carpet fashion, allowing people to feel that they, too, could be unapologetically themselves.
“If I Could Turn Back Time” music video, 1989
In the music video for Cher’s 1989 hit, “If I Could Turn Back Time”, the singer wore a black leather jacket paired with a revealing, see-through bodysuit while singing atop the Battleship USS Missouri. She later went on to recreate this memorable look nearly 20 years on for her 2010 Video Music Awards performance (and Lady Gaga’s dance sequence costume the “Judas” references this very 80s getup). But no matter how many years pass or celeb references to her outfits are made, Cher will always be the ultimate fashion icon.