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No one makes bolder fashion statements—or sets styles—quite like Cher. Lady Gaga? Please. In the '60s the raven-haired half of Sonny and Cher rocked bangs, black eyeliner, bell-bottoms, and bobcat vests, launching the hippie look with cool California style. A decade later she took TV by storm in a variety series that showcased her mannequin-thin silhouette in bare-bellied, bugle-beaded Bob Mackie confections. The '80s and '90s saw Cher in leather jackets, leotards, and fishnets; at the Oscars she dazzled in Mackie ensembles she says are "works of art as beautifully constructed on the inside as they are on the outside."

Now, Cher, 64, is recording a new album in Nashville and returning to the big screen in Burlesque, opposite Christina Aguilera. Cast as the tough but maternal owner of a girlie-show club in Los Angeles, Cher revved up the wardrobe—and character—with items from her own closet.


On a visit to London, Sonny and Cher became hippie-fashion icons during the heyday of Carnaby Street mod. "We were part of a movement before there was a name for it," she says. These Native American-inspired duds were the work of Nudie, the Hollywood tailor who created Elvis Presley's famous gold suit.


A barefoot Cher photographed in her Encino, Calif., home. "That was the first dress Sonny allowed me to wear instead of hip-hugger bell-bottoms," she says. "He did not like legs showing. The dress was cut into a mini—it was a beautiful ecru-colored antique lace with embroidery in dusty pink."


Cher designed this ensemble for the film Good Times. "I wore it to death," she says. Her eyes are inspired by model Peggy Moffitt. "I used cake liner that you had to spit into and did a thick line above my lashes and over the hood of my eyelids. Garbo did it too, but mine was stark, not subtle. Luckily, I've got a lot of space up there."


"Bob Mackie did Carol Burnett's wardrobe, and after I was a guest on her show, I thought, If I ever get rich, I want him to do all my clothes." She wore this matte jersey Mackie dress on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.


Cher boogied with the "adorable" Michael Jackson and his brothers on her variety show. The hair was "an Afro but in a Cher way"; the beaded halter and floral bell-bottoms were pure Mackie. "We spent hours on fittings," she says. "Bob told me if I got any thinner he would stop making clothes for me."


"Back then I only wore 501's. It's what my mom and grandmother wore, and what I put my kids in." David Geffen, then her fiance, bought her the watch ("I was told it was the first diamond Rolex in California") and ring to help her stop smoking. "The diamonds are set in a chain you can take off and play with, so I always had it in my hands instead of a cigarette." The necklace by Edward Merrifield has a figure of the Egyptian goddess Isis.


Cher at her house in Aspen: She and her kids were avid skiers. "I remember this day. We are in the chalet because I locked the keys in the car. Cute outfit—everything was red, white and blue for me then." Ski clothes, she says, are like golf wear. "You wear horrible colors all together. You think, What happens on the golf course doesn't happen in the rest of the world."


"When I was young I loved roller-skating. I would go to a rink in the San Fernando Valley." During the late '70s roller-disco craze, Cher interpreted the style of the day with a white leotard, high striped socks, and a scarf. "Why, I'll never know, but I wanted to have a shag," says the singer of the hairstyle.

Circa 1980

For a publicity photo that year, Cher wore a motorcycle jacket bought in Paris. She has had "every color wig you can imagine," including this Pepe Le Pew pompadour. "You cannot do things with your hair because all that styling ruins it. And I love my hair."


She arrived at the Oscars with date Val Kilmer. "I had clear braces on my teeth, and I hated them! That Mackie dress was gorgeous. I also had a fox stole." And a fox on her arm too. "He was a really handsome boy."


Responding to an Academy snub for her role in Mask ("They said I didn't dress like a serious actress and my boyfriends were too young"), Cher dreamed up this Mohawk-inspired showstopper. "I was about 10 feet tall with the headdress."


Cher did a cameo in Robert Altman's The Player wearing a bugle-beaded gown from Bob Mackie's runway show. "This is one of the rare times I wore red lipstick. But it matched the dress! That tattoo was newish—a chain with crosses, hearts and ankhs—no one knew what it was but me."


"I never had a rocker period, but this was perfect for the Love Hurts tour. It was patent leather with chains, grommets, lacing and fishnets. I've been wearing fishnets my whole life. If I am buried in a short skirt, I am wearing fishnets with it."


"It's nice, isn't it?" says Cher of the black velvet Bob Mackie dress. "The gown had a train; I was holding it up. I especially like the hair. It's hard coming up with new ideas."


Gianfranco Ferre designed Cher's wardrobe to publicize the Believe tour. "I love this jacket so much. It's beaded with these beautiful silk pants—they're beaded too. Just gorgeous. When something is beautiful you can wear it always."


"In my first TV special I played all the parts in West Side Story; this was Bernardo's wig. We just changed him into Elvis," says Cher, who surprised her co-stars Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, and others at the VH1 Divas Las Vegas concert in an Elvis coif during a Presley tribute.


Bob Mackie made this costume for Cher's Farewell tour. "I wore it in the opening number—U2's 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.' That's how I start all my concerts. It sounds a bit over-the-top to say this, but my show is really great. People have a wonderful time. It's a definite party."

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