Since we started creating our Pop Culture Passionistas' Sock Puppets, we’ve been asked a lot of questions. “You MAKE those?” “Why sock puppets?” “What are you... nine?” Okay, we know we gravitated toward an unusual art form. But we wanted to find a unique way to pay tribute to our favorite pop culture icons and bring a little humor to what seem like really intense and serious times. As our technique has evolved, we’ve started to determine that what makes someone “sock puppet worthy” isn’t just how much we admire them. Each subject must have a district feature or sense of style that sets them apart from the average celebrity Joe or Jane.
Perhaps that’s why we keep gravitating towards the awe-inspiring works of Bob Mackie time and time again. True, Elton John, Cher and Carol Burnett have each made his or her own mark in their respective fields regardless of what they were wearing. But when you picture them, odds are you envision them in an equally iconic beaded or sequined creation by the one fashion phenomenon that everyone knows. Plus, let’s face it, it’s just fun to work with feathers, flourishes and fringe.
So to commemorate his 77th birthday and say thank you for the inspiration in our own distinct way, we give you our favorite Bob Mackie masterpieces through sock puppets.
Carol Burnett — Went with the Wind
Growing up, we would love it when our parents would go square dancing on a Saturday night and Betty Boyce would babysit. First of all, she was she the Central Casting picture of a ‘70s teenager with her long, straight brown hair and hip-hugger jeans. But more importantly, she let us watch the best TV line-up in history: All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnett Show. We loved them all but pushed our pre-teen selves to stay up late so we wouldn’t miss the Queen of Comedy, Ms. Carol Burnett. We howled as Mrs. Wiggins wiggled her way to Mr. Tudball’s desk and rubbed our hands greedily together whenever someone said, “It’s a piece of cake.” But like most people, our all time favorite sketch is legendary Gone with the Wind parody. And many people don’t know that the laughs would not have been as big had Mr. Mackie not suggested that Carol keep the curtain rod in the gorgeous green velvet dress that Starlet O’Hara donned.
Elton John — “Crocodile Rock” with the Muppets
It’s practically impossible to pick Elton John’s most outrageous stage outfit. That is, at least, until you come across the head-to-toe feather fantasy that Bob Mackie designed. There seems to be a few iterations of the outfit but our favorite is the one Elton wore when performing “Crocodile Rock” with a swamp full of reptilian Muppets on The Muppet Show. Funky glasses — check. Sparkly head gear — check. Feathers — oh, yeah, check, check and check.
Cher — 1986 Academy Awards
No one knows how to have a red carpet moment like the inimitable Cher. From the midriff bearing gown to the rooster feather headdress, who else could have pulled the look off? This was the ultimate Oscar fashion statement and that statement seems to be “I will do whatever the hell I want.” There's never been a more memorable Mackie muse than the fashion forward Oscar-winner.
So, thank you, Mr. Mackie for teaching us that attention to detail is the secret to success. That it’s liberating to create art that you love even if the form is unconventional. And, most importantly, that life is about expressing yourself without limitations.
We wish you the happiest of birthdays and many, many, many more to come.