The story behind Cher’s iconic 1986 Oscars dress

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • There have been many iconic Oscars dresses over the years, including Julia Roberts’ Valentino look in 2001, Charlize Theron’s glimmering Gucci gown in 2004 and Angelina Jolie’s satin halterneck Marc Bouwer that same year.

    But none grabbed headlines quite as much as Cher’s iconic look from the 1986 Oscars. The headdress, the crop top, those abs and that sequin skirt, there was no denying it was an unusual look and she of course looked fabulous.

    So how did it come about? Well it was actually somewhat controversial. You see Cher decided to go with a showgirl-inspired outfit as a snub to the Academy, who she felt didn’t take her seriously and hated the way she dressed.

    She told Vogue, ‘I had the idea mostly because the Academy didn’t really like me. They hated the way I dressed and I had young boyfriends so they thought I wasn’t serious. So I came out and said, “as you can see I got my handbook on how to dress like a serious actress”.’

    So she asked her longtime friend and designer to help her out. ‘I came to Bob with an idea. I said I want to have a mohawk, [but] that is not actually Indian. I want it to be so over-the-top that it’s next week. The beautiful shawl was cashmere. I loved the whole thing,’ she said.

    Bob wasn’t sure at first, saying that wasn’t what you were supposed to wear to the Oscars, to which Cher replied she didn’t want to look like a housewife in an evening dress.

    So the designer set to task to create the jewel-encrusted bralette with matching low rise skirt, with a matching embroidered kimono-style jacket, and of course that beaded headdress, resulting in one of the most iconic looks of all time and Cher’s favourite.

    Well Cher must’ve done something right, because she won the Best Actress gong for Moonstruck the following year…

    Reading now

    Popular