7 of cher’s most iconic outfits
i-D turns back time to take a look at her fearless style.
Cher poses for an album cover session for "The Prisoner" on Casablanca Records in June 1979 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry Langdon/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 statements even decades later. They have also been a precious source of inspiration for a younger generation of modern-day celebrities who continue to reference her looks whether walking the red carpet or performing on screen.
In honor of Cher’s 73rd birthday, here are just some of her most influential outfits that continue to live on today:
Cher’s Costumes on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Show
Cher had a countless number of costumes, such as this one, made during The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Show which was on air from 1971 through 1974
. Intricately detailed and strikingly unique, Cher’s ensembles were designed by the famous costume designer Bob Mackie and continue to inspire both designers and celebrities alike today. Cher and Mackie had met a few years earlier while she was a guest star on the Carol Burnett Show and are still collaborating nearly 50 years later. In fact, Mackie was recently nominated for a Tony award for Best Costume Design of a Musical for his work in the new Cher-inspired Broadway hit, The Cher Show.
Cher’s 1974 Met Gala Look, the “Naked Dress”
Cher wowed the world with her 1974 Met Gala look, dubbed the “Naked Dress”, created by none other than Bob Mackie whom she also walked the red carpet with. Cher went on to wear Mackie’s creation on the cover of TIME magazine in 1975 as well, immortalizing the distinct design. Over 4 decades later a rendition of this dress was worn by Kim Kardashian at the 2015 Met Gala — Kardashian was inspired by Cher’s memorable mid-70s look and worked with Peter Dundas at Roberto Cavalli to create their own version of it.
1973 Academy Awards
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 resonate with young Hollywood even years later (hint: Kim Kardashian recreated the look for Halloween in 2017).
1975 Rock Music Awards
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’. If Cher’s outfit looks particularly familiar it is because Emily Ratajkowski wore a similar piece designed by Peter Dundas to this year’s Met Gala.
The “Dancing Flames” Dress
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.
58th Academy Awards Outfit
For the 58th Academy Awards in 1986 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
In Cher’s 1989 hit, “If I Could Turn Back Time” music video she 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 later for her 2010 Video Music Awards performance. Lady Gaga’s dance sequence costume in her 2011 music video for “Judas” is especially reminiscent of this 1980’s getup.