I often opine that no one reads my blog. That’s not exactly true anymore, but like comedians I’ve loved – Kathy Griffin, Carol Burnett, Don Rickles, the late Jonathan Winters, and recently departed Robin Williams and Joan Rivers – being self-deprecating is a way of life … and a good strategy to try to keep the gremlins away. So, if somebody reaches out, tells me they read this blog, and asks me to share something nifty with all 12.5 of you readers out there, I do it!
Warner Brothers checked out my humble efforts here and sent me a transcribed interview with top fashion designer Bob Mackie who is best known for costuming entertainment icons such as Carol Burnett, Cher, and many others, providing his signature approach to costume design.
Y’see, 2014 is the 75th anniversary year for producer David O. Selnick’s masterpiece (and my mom author Susie Duncan Sexton‘s favorite. film. ever.) Gone With the Wind. And all kinds of fancy stuff has been planned in celebration….and here’s the commercial: Warner Brothers upcoming limited and numbered release, Gone with the Wind 75th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray™ packaged with new collectible packaging, new memorabilia and new special features ($49.99 SRP) goes on sale September 30th at your favorite retailer.
From Warner Brothers –
Gone With the Wind‘s wardrobe is among the most celebrated in cinematic history and continues to influence designers today. The film impacted fashion designer Bob Mackie who has said “Mr. Plunkett was one of the most esteemed period costume designers of the Golden Age of film.”
More than perhaps any other movie, the costumes in Gone with the Wind brought the story to life. From the crinoline hoops to the underskirt cages, costume designer Walter Plunkett and his team of seamstresses went to painstaking lengths to create the hundreds of elaborate costumes – including the famed ball gowns that epitomize the Southern Belle – for the film.
Many of the gowns required multiple versions reflecting different states of wear and tear to correspond with the different phases of the movie – pre-Civil War, during the war and after the war. Consider that the war made it difficult, if not impossible, to access the luxurious fabrics and details because the fighting made the trade routes too dangerous, you’ll see this reflected in the costume design. It’s the details like this that transport you to another world and which inspired so many other fashion designers.
Below is a transcript of the Mackie interview …
WARNER BROS. TRANSCRIBED INTERVIEW WITH BOB MACKIE
You designed the famous curtain dress for Carol Burnett Show for the infamous parody segment back in 1976. This year, Gone With The Wind celebrates its 75th year. How did the parody come to be? Where did your inspiration come from?
On the Carol Burnett Show we often did parodies of classic old movies. It was inevitable that we would eventually take on Gone with the Wind, probably the most iconic and most seen film of the time. Everyone in the TV audience knew the moment “Starlett” (Carol) took the drapes down from the window and dragged them up the stairs that she would soon reappear wearing a dress made from the drapes. For me, in the real film when Scarlett appeared in her curtain dress, it was already hilarious. So for several days I agonized over what to do with the drapes. When an audience expects one thing and you surprise them with something else, usually you get a reaction. Well, when Carol proudly came down the stairs wearing the drapes – with the curtain rod included – the audience went ballistic. They say it was the loudest and longest laugh ever recorded on television. As a costume designer I was relieved; I got my laugh.
What elements of the famous dress worn by Scarlett O’Hara did you incorporate into the parody dress worn by Carol Burnett?
In the film, Scarlett was often quite ridiculous (thank God for Vivien Leigh). For Carol to parody her was not a real stretch, and what juicy material to satirize.
What do you most love about Gone With The Wind?
Gone with the Wind is one of those films I can never turn off. If I come upon it while channel surfing, I will stay up all night ’til it finishes.
How did the movie inspire you as a Fashion Designer? Does it continue to resonate with you today?
The film’s costume designer Walter Plunkett called me after seeing our show and asked me if he could have my sketch of the television version of the curtain dress. I was honored and thrilled! Mr. Plunkett was one of the most esteemed period costume designers of the Golden Age of film. He also designed my favorite musical film Singing in the Rain.
What fashion secrets can real women borrow from Scarlett O’Hara and Gone With The Wind? Should women give a damn about what others think?
The film Scarlett was ruthless in her fashion choices. She knew what she wanted and was never afraid to push the boundaries of what the proper lady of the 1860s would or should not wear. She certainly didn’t care what other people thought. Today fashion is a little too free, easy and sloppy. Oh, well. Time marches on.
Thanks, Warner Brothers for helping me with my easiest (and darned quickest) blog entry ever! Fun reading these insights from Mackie – I will be sure to check out the box set … and NOW here’s MY commercial (below) …
Reel Roy Reviews is now a book! Thanks to BroadwayWorld for this coverage – click here to view. In addition to online ordering at Amazon or from the publisher Open Books, the book currently is being carried by Bookbound, Common Language Bookstore, and Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room in Ann Arbor, Michigan and by Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, Michigan. My mom Susie Duncan Sexton’s Secrets of an Old Typewriter series is also available on Amazon and at Bookbound and Common Language.