While Mackie’s vintage dresses are fast becoming Hollywood’s most in-demand pieces, they’re not easy to get. “It’s not because we’re snobby or anything,” McFate says of the selective approach to who gets to wear a Mackie dress and where. “Our archive is very specific. In the past, [all of Bob’s pieces] were custom, so we can’t just send a rack of clothes out for someone to try on. It has to fit, and it has to be the right performer.” Mackie’s dresses are so coveted that stars have been known to buy them from resale sites—or go as far as asking fellow celebrities to borrow theirs, like when Pink borrowed Cher’s rose-gold beaded feather number for the 2022 American Music Awards.
As for where all of Mackie’s precious archival gems are stored? Good luck finding that out: Mackie’s archive is kept in a top-secret (and climate-controlled) location somewhere in California. There, his intricate array of theatrical designs is looked after carefully. “The beaded dresses are all stored flat, and some of the large ball gowns are all hanging because they’re too big to put anywhere flat,” McFate says. The pair joked about what would happen if the address to Mackie’s archives was ever leaked. “Drag queens would come beating down our doors!” McFate adds.
Looking ahead, you can expect stars to continue reviving Mackie’s dresses on the carpet—when the time and place is right. (The 2024 Met Gala, perhaps?) But that’s not all fans of the legendary designer have to look forward to: Coming up, Mackie’s life in style will be the subject of a new documentary. Names like Tom Ford, Cher, Carol Burnett, and RuPaul will make appearances in the film. “It’s not just a tribute, it’s a story of his life,” says McFate. “There’s some heartbreaking and touching moments in his life that a lot of people don’t know about.” Consider us seated.