Fashion students at El Centro College had a sweet surprise Thursday with a discussion from world-renowned designer Bob Mackie, who made waves in the fashion scene dressing entertainment icons like Cher, Diana Ross, Judy Garland and Elton John.
He's dressed the Hollywood elite for five decades and he’s received nine Emmy awards and received a Tony award in 2019. He's designed for celebrities, ready-to-wear couture, high-end costumes and even designed for a full Las Vegas show.
"I do this job because I love doing it," he said. "These huge shows in Las Vegas with thousands of costumes in one show and millions of dollars, and it was so hard but how often do you get to do that?"
At El Centro, Mackie pulled out a beaded dress and said, "Here, pass it around." The crowd of students gasped and squealed. Mackie is known for his exquisite beadwork.
"I’m probably the most expert about [beading] because I’ve done so many in my life," Mackie said.
He sketched Marilyn Monroe’s famous tight, nude-colored dress that she wore as she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy for his 45th birthday. The dress was sold for $4.8 million in 2016.
"You draw anything you want and you make it happen," Mackie said. "You really can."
Mackie showed the students more of his beadwork with a suede jacket that had a sun design covering the back and a dress with a beaded sun.
"Don't pay attention to trends because often it'll be out of style next year anyway," he said. "If you look good in it, go for it. That's your chance."
Students eagerly asked Mackie questions, ranging from where he draws his inspiration from, what it’s like working with celebrities and how to get your name out there.
"You have to learn as you go along, I’m still learning," Mackie said. "You learn every day. You see something you haven’t seen before, you go 'Oh, look at that.'"