The most modern Citroën version of the legendary DS Line and all electric – he Last Emperor of Mexico’ Review: The Habsburg of Chapultepec – Reflections from COP26 – Weekend Confidential: Costume Designer Bob Mackie Made the Stars Glitter

Again, the TextileFuture team would like to offer four readings. This time we were writing up “The most modern Citroën version of the legendary DS Line and all electric” upon a presentation of Citroën Switzerland, attended and written by Virginia F. Bodmer-Altura.

The second item is about a new book on ‘The Last Emperor of Mexico’ Review: The Habsburg of Chapultepec”. It is based upon a book review in the Wall Street Journal.

In order to present a most actual item, the third feature is about the “Reflections from COP26”. It was published by McKinsey authors just after the closing in Glasgow (GB).

The fourth feature will present to you the Weekend Confidential: Costume Designer Bob Mackie made the Stars Glitter”, based upon a guest contribution from Emily Bobrow from the Wall Street Journal, presenting the Costume Designer’s swork over six decades, thus a true textile subject.

We hope you will enjoy reading, again in a condensed sense and gain some additional knowledge for your work or your time off.

Below starts the first feature:

The most modern Citroën version of the legendary Citroën DS and all electric

By Virginia F. Bodmer, Publisher of TextileFuture

On August 11, 2021 Citroën in Switzerland held a presentation of the revival, but ultra modern design of the legendary DS Line, that cemented in the past the reputation of Citroën worldwide. The old Ciktroën DS  is still a very important global collector’s item.

The legendary DS is still a valuable collector’s item. All captions courtesy by Citroen Suisse

But the new DS Line has all the ingredients to even surpass the fame of the old Citroën DS with the utmost design that reunites the Paris flavour with German thoroughness and precision and is the place of producton in Rüsselsheim on a EMP 2 platform. The launch in Switzerland was dedicated to the DS 4 in the premium segment. Before the models DS  7 and  DS 3 Crossback and DS 9 were launched. The DS Line is operated separately from Citroën in 2018.

The latest state-of-the art DS Line


DS 4 Front view



The new DS 4 in a rear view

The combination of the design of all the DS line and the marriage with augmented technology is just a perfect match. The DS 4 in particular offers in its class cutting edge technology, setting new standards in view to electrification, connectivity and comfort. Among the technical innovations: a plug-in powertrain of the latest generation and not limiting the space of passengers. A turbo charger 180 horse power four cylinder engine, combined with a 110 hp eletric motor and an EATS transmission allows a system performance of 165 kW /225 hp allows a low consumption of plower such as for the DS 4 E-TENSE of 1.4 per 100 km , CO2 emission 32* grammes/kilometre. Thanks to a highly efficient battery  with compact and larger cells. The battery is located behind a deformable cross member and allows a range of more than 50 km in the zero emission mode (WLTP-Combi cycle).

Other technical highlights

  1. DS Extended Head-up-display: projecting information on the roadway

In order to show important information to the driver the new DS 4 is equipped with an DS Extended Head-up-Display. The innovative technology is projecting the most important driving information supposedly on the roadway. With the assistance of an optical illusion the information is delivered around 4 metres of the front windshield. This goes in the direction of AI (Augmented Intelligence) pressents an advantage for the driver that the eyes do not have to be averted from the road. On the 21 zoll display receives the driver important information such as speed, assistance systems, navigation, alarms dnd even the title of music the driver is just listening. The settings  and the disploay will be loaded automatically as soon as the user is boarding the car.

A view into the cockpit

  1. DS IRIS SYSTEM Voice and Gesture control

This sensoric and experience oriented technology form part of an even more comprehensive offering and is forming the centre of an asolute newly and redesigned Infotainment.

The DS IRIS SYSTEM: The new interface is making use of user friendly smartphones and it disposes of an intuitive, continous and responsive surface. It is optimally coordinated with the user with the possibility to store different profiles. The settings  and the disploay will be loaded automatically as soon as the user is boarding the car.

The DS IRIS System can be guided by voice or gesture control to allow in this sector that the customer benefits of the Premium Quality. It is the merit of DS Automobiles to find a partner outside of the automotive sector allowing the best possible solution for voice control. The DS IRIS SYSTEM disposes of a true personal assistant who understands what is told and is able to implement it optimally.

  1. DS Smart Touch

Thank to DS SMART TOUCH the driver and co-passenger can make use with a simple gesture of the principal functions of the system, without surfing in the system or take the eyes off the road. A touch screen in the distance of a hand reacts to movements and acknowledges gestures such as enlarging, reducing and even writing.

In order that system and all maps are always on the state-of-art the updating is effected by the Cloud.

  1. DS DRIVE ASSIST 2.0 extended half autonomous driving

The already in DS 23 CROSSBACK, DS 7 CROSSBACK and DS 9 integrated level 2 half autonomous driving has received an extended update to include theDS DRIVE ASSIST system for inclusion in DS 4.

For instance to keep precisely the driver’s chosen desired lane and the further functions were integrated into the  system. Therefore DS 4  allows a half automated takeover of another car, the speed will be adapted in curves and also a speed recommendation is made to cope with signalling.

With its sensors, the laser radar in front, the radar in curves, a camera at the top of the windshield and AI, the DS Drive Assist 2.0 is positionning the car ideally and fitting with its surroundings.

  1. DS ACTIVE SCAN SUSPENSION allows dynamic comfort

With DS Active Scan Suspension dynamic comfort is guaranteed

In line with the brand’s philosophy,DS Autmobiles developed also adapted  the driving experience called Active Scan Suspension. The camera installed behind  the Wind Shield with four sensors in different inclining positions and acceloorometre delivers  all analytic data such as road conditions, and all movements of the DS 4, such as speed, steering angle, brakes). The data will be available in real time to a computer who is in turn steering independably each wheel by adjusting the  continued damper hardness accoding to the information provided. Thus this results in a comfortable and dynamic driving behaviour.

  1. DS Night Vision: Infrared technology

With DS Night Vision DS 4 has an additional technolgy on board that increases the security on the road and at the same is differing the competition. The infrared camera in the grille recognises in the night and with low lights pedestrians and animals at a distance of up to 200 metres. The driver sees the necessary warnings and description on the digital instrument display and receives danger warnings im DS Extended Head-up display in order to react immediately.

DS 4 Head Lights form part of the design and offers the latest technology
  1. DS Matrix LED Vision: High technologigal Light Signture

With launching the new  generation of  DS Matrix LED Vision headlights, being smaller and more modern, the matrix Beam and the dynamic curving light  is combined in one system to create an unmistakable brand identity.

He DS Matrix LED Vision furthermore entailds of three LED-Modules that became a trademarkof DS Automobiles.

  • The inner module of the headlight is destined for the dimmed headlights.
  • The rotating central module can be turned up to an angle of 33.5 degree, serving a better illumination of the lane curb, at the same the system represents a reminiscence of the pivotable headlights of the historic DS.
  • The outer matrix Beam Modul is activated at the initial stage of the journey and is divided in 15 segments, that are introduced and activated indipendently according to road conditions.

All headlights fit traffic conditions,  steering wheel angle, speed and weather conditions by using five preset modi: city, countryside, freeway, rough weather conditions and fog. In this way, it is possible for the driver to head by full high beam without dazzling other drivers.  A vehicle in front  or oncoming traffic are automatically recognised and avoided.

  1. DS AIR – a compact Ventilation System

Also the cockpit is shaped by technique with style. An innovative ventilation system with compact ventilation openings and invisible lamelles is creating an agreable indoor climate. The air stream can be regulated via DS AIR for an optimal effect. The air stream can be regulated by direction. The system works like a conmventional fan. Thanks to its vertical compactness it presents itself as integral and slim appearance responding to the inner clean design of the DS 4. Thanks to its compactness its positioning is very discrete elevating the the cockpit design of the DS 4 in a clear manner.

It is noteworthy that the entire car inside and outside is clearly designed and every little item has been chosen by the creators. The DS 4 and all the line reflects the state-of-the art of contemporary design and technology and yet historic also some reminiscence of the legendary Citroën DS of the past.

Depending on the DS version and personal selection, the price of the DS 4 starts in Switzerland at CHF 37900.00.

Here is the start of the second item:

The Last Emperor of Mexico’ Review: The Habsburg of Chapultepec

When the liberal scion of a European dynasty arrived to take power in 1860s Mexico, he expected the embrace of a grateful nation.

By guest author Gerard Helferich. Mr. Helferich’s most recent book is “An Unlikely Trust: Theodore Roosevelt, J. P. Morgan, and the Improbable Partnership That Remade American Business.”

All captions courtesy by The Wall Street Journal

The saga of Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico, has all the elements of grand opera: international intrigue, ill-starred romance, abject betrayal and a well-meaning hero with the tragic flaws of hubris and self-delusion. In his nonfiction account “The Last Emperor of Mexico,” Edward Shawcross relates this sweeping, multilayered story with a drive and panache worthy of the subject.

Mr. Shawcross, a British historian, creates a balanced and deeply human portrait of the emperor. Born in Vienna in 1832, Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian was the younger brother of Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. A daydreamer, a talented linguist and a lover of poetry and plays, the young Maximilian was torn between his bone-deep reverence for the House of Habsburg and his genuine sympathy for the liberal political reforms that were sweeping Europe. This second son was prone to restlessness and melancholy, haunted by a conviction that he was destined for a greatness he could never fulfill.

As Mr. Shawcross relates in his deeply researched narrative, Maximilian would ultimately find his fate in the political machinations of two continents. In Paris during the 1850s and 1860s, Napoleon III was plotting to expand French influence in the Americas and working to discourage another U.S. invasion of Mexico. Through a series of diplomatic maneuverings, this became an attempt to declare a monarchy there and install a puppet “emperor.” The designation was a bit hyperbolic, since the sovereign-to-be would rule only Mexico, but the title was intended to elevate him to the same exalted plane as the emperors of Austria, France and Russia. And there was a precedent, since Agustín de Iturbide contrived to have himself declared the first emperor of Mexico in 1822, in the chaos following the war of independence from Spain.

In the charming, underemployed Archduke Maximilian, Napoleon III believed he had found the ideal candidate: a member of one of Europe’s most illustrious royal families, which had deep ties to Mexico and Spain. Maximilian’s forebear, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, had been king of Spain when conquistador Hernán Cortés landed in Mexico in 1519.

When Napoleon’s go-betweens approached Maximilian in 1861, Mexican Conservatives had just lost a three-year civil war to the Liberals, who were led by Benito Juárez and supported by the United States. The Mexican government was struggling under crushing foreign debts, and in January 1862, after President Juárez announced a two-year moratorium on payments, the country’s creditors—France, Great Britain and Spain—landed troops at Veracruz to force reimbursement. When it became clear that France was more intent on regime change than on debt collection, the other powers hastily withdrew.

During his seduction of Maximilian, Napoleon III had assured him that London would support a monarchy in Mexico, though he knew that was not the case. He also guaranteed that the Mexican people would embrace a European emperor, but this deception was exposed when Juárez’s army resisted the invasion. The Mexicans repulsed the French at Puebla on May 5, 1862 (the original Cinco de Mayo), but their victory was short-lived. Napoleon III ordered 25,000 reinforcements to Mexico, and in May of the following year the imperialists succeeded in retaking Puebla, followed by Mexico City in June. Meanwhile, Juárez’s republicans still controlled broad swaths of the country, especially in the north and along the southern and western coasts. President Abraham Lincoln protested France’s flagrant violation of the Monroe Doctrine but, mired in his own civil war and afraid of driving Napoleon III to the Confederate cause, was powerless to act.

By now Maximilian and his wife, Carlota, daughter of King Leopold I of Belgium, should have realized that their reign in Mexico would not be the royal idyll they had been promised. But the two of them, gripped with ambition and an obstinate sense of duty, refused to abandon their imperial fantasy. Finally arriving in Mexico in May 1864, they installed themselves in the capital’s lavishly renovated Chapultepec Castle and set out to establish a modern constitutional monarchy. “The Mexican Empire,” Mr. Shawcross writes, “was to be underwritten by reconciliation after the rancour of civil war; through the organisation of a stable government supported by the law, religion, and the nation; and by economic progress and democracy. Under this heady mixture,” Maximilian believed, “Mexico would one day be richer and more powerful than the United States.”

But the country was still deeply polarized, and the new emperor was in an untenable position: too liberal for the Conservatives, too conservative and too European for the Liberals. Mexico’s financial crisis had only deepened with the replacement of the austere Juárez by the free-spending Maximilian. Worse, under his agreement with France, Maximilian was responsible for the expenses that country had incurred while invading Mexico. As Mr. Shawcross notes, Napoleon III “wanted to extend French power on the cheap: Mexico would pay for the privilege of its own occupation.” That would have been a daunting challenge for the most determined and skillful statesman, but the naive, overconfident, procrastinating Maximilian was spectacularly outmatched. Perhaps the greatest deception in his story was the delusion that the emperor practiced on himself.

Events turned against Maximilian in 1865, when the American Civil War ended and Washington was finally able to send military and financial aid to the republicans and to demand the removal of French troops. Frustrated with Maximilian and now faced with the real possibility of war with the United States, Napoleon III halted all additional loans and withdrew his forces, though he knew what the outcome would be. In February 1867, the French abandoned Mexico City and fled to Veracruz, where they had landed five years earlier. As the republican troops advanced on the capital, Maximilian took personal command of the imperial army and refused to abdicate, invoking family honor and responsibility to “his” people.

Meanwhile, a desperate Carlota journeyed to Europe to intercede with Napoleon III and Pope Pius IX. But after being rebuffed in Paris and the Vatican, she was beset by paranoid delusions and suffered an emotional breakdown from which she never recovered, apparently exacerbated by guilt for having encouraged Maximilian to accept the crown. She would spend the rest of her long life hidden away in Belgian castles until her death in 1927.

The climax of Maximilian’s drama came in March 1867, when an overwhelming republican force surrounded the imperial army in the central Mexican city of Querétaro. Betrayed again—by one of his officers, who accepted a bribe to guide enemy troops into his headquarters—Maximilian was taken prisoner. At last, he offered to abdicate and depart for Europe, but too late. Over international pleas for clemency, Juárez ordered a military trial, and following the failure of two desperate escape plots, the last emperor of Mexico faced a firing squad on June 19, 1867. His final words could have been lifted from the lyrics of a tragic opera: “I forgive everybody, I pray that everyone may also forgive me, and I wish that my blood, which is now to be shed, may be for the good of the country. Long live Mexico, long live independence.”

Here commences the third feature:

Reflections from COP26

By guest authors Harry Bowcott, Daniel Pacthod, and Dickon Pinner from McKinsey




Momentum has shifted: net-zero commitments are the norm. But demand for solutions and systems to meet them outstrips the supply. To respond, businesses should focus on five fundamentals.

Even as COP26 delegates conclude negotiations, it is clear that the climate commitments launched in Glasgow will reshape the agenda for global business. Hopes were high that COP26 would be where the world delivered action on the goals of the Paris Agreement. Debate will go on about whether official talks accomplished enough. To focus only on those developments, though, is to miss the other story that unfolded during COP26, as public-, private-, and cross-sector pledges signaled that the direction of travel is toward net zero. And in hundreds of conversations in Glasgow, executives told us and our colleagues that they expect an acceleration of climate action across the real economy: at the system level, throughout industries, and within organizations.

Our conversations made something else apparent, too: net-zero commitments are outpacing the formation of supply chains, market mechanisms, financing models, and other solutions and structures needed to smooth the world’s decarbonization pathway. For businesses, these conditions will create opportunities to innovate and to lead coordinated action by industry peers, value-chain partners, capital providers, and policy makers. They also introduce added risk that commodity prices will spike. With these opportunities and risks in mind, we offer a look at five fundamental considerations that can help executives define an effective net-zero program for the next few years.

Commitments to systemic change mean that net zero is now an organizing principle for business

Coming out of COP26, many observers will focus on whether the commitments made there imply a temperature increase of greater than 1.5°C. That analysis is important; it helps show how much more must be done to cut emissions and adapt to warming. For executives, it also matters that the aims of countries and companies are converging on 1.5°C targets. The net-zero imperative is no longer in question—it has become an organizing principle for business.

Why do we say so? Because many of the net-zero commitments made in Glasgow came from coalitions of the stakeholders—governments, financial institutions, companies, multilateral organizations, and others—who must participate if systemic problems are going to be solved. For example, the transition to clean shipping would require customers to request the service, shipping companies to invest in vessels that run on zero-emissions fuels, fuel producers to make more of those fuels, and banks to provide capital for these endeavors. And when these activities are coordinated, they shift the entire operating context for companies.

CEOs can get ahead of such shifts by joining coalitions that exist now, such as the Mission Possible Partnership. COP26 also saw new commitments from groups such as the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ). CEOs who see a pressing and unmet need for cross-sector effort may wish to organise a coalition. They might also choose to engage the public sector in setting rules that favor a more orderly net-zero transition.

Companies can gain advantage from translating net-zero pledges into net-zero plans

In many instances, net-zero commitments are running ahead of companies’ own plans to meet them. Relatively few businesses have yet to make clear, detailed plans for how they will achieve net zero. That must be what leaders focus on now; investors and regulators expect them to do so. UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak reiterated at COP26 that the Treasury would require UK-listed companies to release net-zero plans by 2023. It is only a matter of time before regulators and supervisors elsewhere follow that example.

Until then, leaders who put convincing net-zero plans in place can distinguish their companies from peers. To put that another way: the basis of competition has changed, and there is now a premium on sound net-zero planning and execution. Such plans will vary in their specifics, of course, but well-formed ones will feature certain elements:

  • emissions targets for Scopes 1, 2, and 3 (the hardest to meet); these should include long-term targets, as well as near-term goals for 2025 and 2030, all aligned with science-based mitigation trajectories or sector-specific trajectories from credible authorities
  • a strategic view of climate risks and opportunities for each part of the company’s portfolio, covering both competitive dynamics and environmental exposures
  • an assessment on the spending of transition capital that will be required to reduce emissions, especially from existing emissions-intensive assets, coupled with a credible stance on the use of high-quality carbon credits
  • a programme for building capabilities to monitor external conditions, make decisions about how to update the company’s plan, and implement it

Plans take time to prepare—but business conditions are changing quickly, as we explain below. Companies should not wait to act. Most can make no-regrets moves even while drawing up their long-term agendas. Start with straightforward moves that are sure to generate value; investing in energy efficiency, for example, usually does.

Explaining the company’s plan to stakeholders is important, too. Leaders will want an investor-relations and external-engagement program that puts the company on the front foot by explaining how they see the future, what they are doing now, and what they will do next.

The money to finance the transition is forming; markets and institutions are needed to channel capital

Financial institutions have been at the forefront of the drive to net zero, and they continued leading at COP26. GFANZ brought together more than 450 institutions, representing $130 trillion of financial assets (40 percent of the global total), that promised to align their portfolios with net-zero goals. To put that in perspective, McKinsey analysis indicates that a net-zero transition would require $150 trillion of capital spending, two-thirds of it in developing economies. While there is justifiable debate about what the GFANZ pact might mean in terms of capital investment—and far more capital will probably be needed—the commitment shows that capital is starting to form.

Deploying sufficient capital quickly enough to achieve net zero is now the challenge. At a system level, focus should be on scaling markets and institutions that can channel money into decarbonization and adaptation. This involves scaling voluntary carbon markets, restructuring multilateral development banks, developing country platforms, and creating futures markets for green commodities.

At the company level, leaders will need capital to decarbonize their holdings and to build businesses that serve the growing markets for zero-emissions goods and services. Companies that own carbon-intensive assets might work with financial institutions that have net-zero goals on securing funds to retrofit or retire these assets responsibly. Except when dealing with the most carbon-intensive assets, this approach may deliver greater emissions reductions than divesting assets or taking them private.

Securing green(er) materials will mitigate risk amid shortages and price volatility

Extreme weather won’t be the only climate-related threat to supply chains in the years ahead. One consequence worries many: as demand increases for materials with low emissions intensity, such as green steel, production capacity may not expand quickly enough to keep pace, at least in the near term. For example, McKinsey analysis suggests that shortages of high-quality iron ore could constrain production of zero-emissions steel.

Or consider potential shortfalls in the supply of climate technologies. Zero-emissions trucks are one example. A report from Road Freight Zero, a cross-industry coalition that is part of the Mission Possible Partnership, and McKinsey indicates that projected growth in sales of zero-emissions trucks in Europe won’t be enough to put the continent’s road-freight sector onto a 1.5°C pathway.

Executives will want to prepare now for tightening supplies and for upward pressure on their costs. Some businesses are locking in purchasing contracts for commodities such as green steel. It may also be possible to hedge the gap in price between conventional materials and zero-emissions substitutes—though this would require trading capabilities that few companies outside the financial sector now possess.

For makers of steel, cement, and other materials, growing demand for zero-emissions goods constitutes an opportunity, which can be met only if they decarbonize their base of installed assets. Doing so will take significant capital, as noted above, as well as technology and time. Until these companies actually achieve net zero, they might pursue other ways of satisfying customers’ demands for green materials. One stopgap approach involves securing high-integrity carbon credits from nature-based projects.

Measurement and disclosure are unavoidable; using digital to create cost and price transparency can have benefits

Financial institutions and governments are asking companies to disclose more information about their exposures to climate risks and their climate-action plans. A company’s first impulse may be to disclose only the required minimum, but it can be beneficial to describe performance more openly. This would involve closer monitoring of value chains—an approach that digital technology can enable. The experience of leading companies suggests that sustainability management will be the next frontier for digital transformation.

Distributed sensing and computing technologies lend themselves well to value-chain management—and lowering emissions represents one of the thorniest value-chain issues we have witnessed. At each point in a company’s value chain, cost increases could result as suppliers and business partners reduce their emissions. Digital systems for tracking and tracing goods could help reveal where emissions are concentrated so that companies can take steps to lessen them.

Digital technologies also have powerful applications within a company’s own operations. Research by McKinsey and the World Economic Forum on 90 technically advanced factories around the world shows that digital transformations had boosted sustainability performance at roughly two in every three facilities.

Investments in resilience can protect people and companies from physical climate hazards

Notwithstanding any debate about whether COP26 was a success, the general direction for business has been established. Momentum has shifted toward net zero, providing businesses with a new organizing principle. The transition to net zero will be complicated. The best leaders can hope for is that it will be relatively orderly, rather than punctuated by sudden, unexpected shifts. And in any case, the basis of competition will change as stakeholders reward companies that exhibit high levels of preparedness—not for sheer strategic uncertainty but for the bound volatility that the transition is certain to bring.

Courageous leadership will therefore help companies navigate the transition. Leaders will need to cut through the noise and articulate a North Star for their company’s future, supported by a detailed plan to get there. Focusing on the five fundamentals described in this article can help them achieve the clarity of thought that will be required to plan effectively.

Further warming will have physical consequences, and warming is set to continue. The Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that further changes to the Earth’s systems are locked in, no matter how much more warming takes place. What’s more, multiple climate-modeling efforts based on COP26 pledges suggest that continued warming will raise temperatures to more than 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

The physical hazards posed by climate change have manifest humanitarian impacts. For example, in scenario-based analysis for Race to Resilience, a campaign led by the UN High-Level Climate Champions, McKinsey found that in a 2.0°C world, roughly a billion more people would be exposed to climate hazards than in a 1.5°C world. In a scenario where 1.5°C of warming occurs by 2030, almost half the world’s population could be exposed to a climate hazard related to heat stress, drought, flood, or water stress. And compared with high-income nations, lower-income countries have larger shares of the population that are likely to be exposed to at least one climate hazard. Notwithstanding any debate about whether COP26 was a success, the general direction for business has been established. Momentum has shifted toward net zero, providing businesses with a new organizing principle. The transition to net zero will be complicated. The best leaders can hope for is that it will be relatively orderly, rather than punctuated by sudden, unexpected shifts. And in any case, the basis of competition will change as stakeholders reward companies that exhibit high levels of preparedness—not for sheer strategic uncertainty but for the bounded volatility that the transition is certain to bring.

Courageous leadership will therefore help companies navigate the transition. Leaders will need to cut through the noise and articulate a North Star for their company’s future, supported by a detailed plan to get there. Focusing on the five fundamentals described in this article can help them achieve the clarity of thought that will be required to plan effectively.

Companies, too, could experience more frequent interruptions as physical risks from climate hazards increase. But by building greater resilience, they can improve their ability to maintain business continuity—which can be a source of confidence, not to mention competitive advantage. Indeed, using the same warming scenario described above, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that downstream electronics companies could lose up to a third of annual revenue if their supplies of chips were disrupted for five months.

This is the textile related fourth feature:

Weekend Confidential: Costume Designer Bob Mackie Made the Stars Glitter

Over six decades, his designs shaped the image of Cher, Carol Burnett and other icons.

By guest author Emily Bobrow from the Wall Street Journal

Robert Gordon “Bob” Mackie always longed to be in show business. “It was just more beautiful, more Technicolor, more everything than where I lived,” he says. As a lonely child in Southern California in the 1940s and ‘50s, he used to create stage sets with little homemade figures atop his dresser. On Saturdays he always caught the live weekly broadcast of Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows,” a TV variety program that mixed glamour with humor. “That was my school,” says Mr. Mackie wistfully. “That was my college.”

A decade later, Mr. Mackie was already dressing many of his showbiz idols, first on “The Judy Garland Show” in 1963, then as the costume designer for both “The Carol Burnett Show” and “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.” His often spangled and feathery creations have flattered the curves of nearly every diva of the past half-century and won him 9 Emmys and a Tony. Now his six-decade career is the subject of “The Art of Bob Mackie,” a lavish coffee-table book by Frank Vlastnik and Laura Ross, published next week.

Looking back, Mr. Mackie, 82, marvels at the intuition of his younger self. “It’s strange,” he says with a smile over video from his home in Palm Springs, Calif. “I really knew where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.”

‘If there was a beautiful musical with dancers, I’d just watch and watch and watch.’

It always seemed apt, says Mr. Mackie, that he entered the world in 1939, the same year as some of the best movies ever made, including “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz.” His parents separated when he was young—“They were both spoiled brats,” he says—and left him to be raised by his grandparents. He learned to escape into the glitz of Hollywood: “If there was a beautiful musical with dancers, like Cyd Charisse, Leslie Caron and Fred Astaire, I couldn’t help myself. I’d just watch and watch and watch.”

For high school plays, Mr. Mackie made the posters, designed the costumes and scenery, and was often cast as the lead thanks to his movie-star looks, even though he couldn’t sing or dance. He yearned to design for Broadway, but he was “in California and poor,” so he took classes at Pasadena Civic College and then got a scholarship to study costume design at the Chouinard Art Institute, now part of the California Institute of the Arts.

After one year, Mr. Mackie dropped out to work as a sketch artist at Paramount Studios. Edith Head, a legendary, Oscar-winning designer, swiftly spotted his flamboyant drawings of strippers and “hootchie mommas” and hired him away. Working for her, Mr. Mackie learned how to handle stars and craft the kinds of detail-oriented costumes that tell everything about a character “with one look,” he says.

All captions courtesy by the Wall Street Journal.

In 1962, when he was 23, Twentieth Century Fox costume designer Jean Louis asked Mr. Mackie to sketch a design for a sheath dress with 2,500 rhinestones “sewed in just the right places.” “I didn’t know it was for Marilyn,” Mr. Mackie says of the famously revealing dress, which Marilyn Monroe was sewn into for John F. Kennedy’s 45th birthday party.

The next year he met Ray Aghayan, a costume designer for television, who would become his lifelong romantic and professional partner. Their first job together was “The Judy Garland Show,” which proved both tough and thrilling. “Judy was a handful,” he recalls. At 4’11” but with long arms and legs, Garland’s “odd little figure” made her hard to dress, too. But Mr. Mackie was soon designing costumes for guest stars like Lena Horne and Chita Rivera and working with top choreographers.

Together Mr. Mackie and Aghayan, who died in 2011, dressed Lucille Ball, Carol Channing, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand and many others; bagged the first-ever Emmy for costume design in 1967, for the musical “Alice Through the Looking Glass”; and earned two Academy Award nominations. But Mr. Mackie is best known for the work he did on his own, which includes everything from Tina Turner’s flame dress to Elton John’s sequined jumpsuits.

Amid the cultural upheaval of the 1960s, Mr. Mackie’s youth was an asset. When Mitzi Gaynor first met him, she recalls blurting, “Your voice hasn’t changed yet!” But his mod, playful, dancer-friendly designs revamped her Vegas act in 1966 and got the attention of Carol Burnett, who swiftly hired him to invent 50 to 70 costumes a week for her sketch-comedy TV show, which ran from 1967 to 1978.

“A lot of ladies in the business know everything about everything and they don’t want to hear your opinions, but Carol was never like that,” says Mr. Mackie. For the show’s parody of “Gone With the Wind,” he crafted one of the best sight gags in television history when he dressed Ms. Burnett in a set of green velvet drapes, complete with the curtain rod. The studio laughter lasted so long it had to be cut for the broadcast. The dress is now in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

After meeting Cher when she and Sonny Bono were guests on Ms. Burnett’s program, Mr. Mackie was soon designing all of the costumes for their show, which ran from 1971 to 1974. “It was a marriage made in heaven,” he says of his work with Cher. He earned a Tony in 2019 for “The Cher Show,” in which he reprised his designs for some of her most notorious looks, from the barely-there dress with feathers that graced the cover of Time magazine in 1974 to the midriff-bearing get-up with a Mohawk-inspired feather headdress that she wore to the Oscars in 1986. “The girl can get away with murder,” he says.

He adds that he has declined requests from countless “Cher wannabes” asking for the same outrageous looks for themselves. “They think the minute they’re dressed like that they’ll be a movie star, but that never works,” he says. His mostly bespoke designs, he explains, are tailored to the idiosyncrasies of each client.

Although Mr. Mackie received a lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2019, he has never really seen himself as a fashion designer. The spreads in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar always struck him as boring “rich-lady clothes,” he admits. He used to sell high-end gowns at upscale department stores, but the trunk shows wore him out. He recalls how women shopping for dresses to wear to charity events would say “my cancer dress was Kelly green, my Alzheimer’s dress was blue…all these gowns that they wore once in their life had a disease name attached to it! I just thought, I gotta get out of here.” His designs for the QVC shopping channel offer some Mackie bling at more affordable prices.

Mr. Mackie is sometimes called “the sultan of sequins,” but when it comes to his own clothes he tends to prefer an attention-deflecting uniform of collared shirts and jeans. “The boy-next-door look is what I liked best,” he says with a shrug. Fashion, he explains, is just like life: “You have to find out who you are and run with it.”



Newsletter of last week

Innovating to net zero: An executive’s guide to climate technology – The Stunning Grandeur of Soviet-Era Metros – Our future lives and livelihoods: Sustainable and inclusive and growing

The highlights of last week’s NEWS, for your convenience, just click on the feature to read.


EU Commission approves acquisition of joint control of Open Fiber by CDP and Macquarie


International Achievement Award Winners Announced at IFAI Expo 2021


Italian TextileMachinery 3rd Quarter remains positive for New Orders

Car Radios

Study: Car buyers say broadcast radio should be standard


Third quarter of 2021: Bayer grows sales and earnings significantly


Job Gains Offer a Brighter Picture of the U.S. Economy

Household income in the OECD area fell sharply in the second quarter of 2021, despite strong growth in GDP

Switzerland with drop in numbers in nursing homes in 2020 and continued increase in care and assistance at home

Eurobarometer: Despite the pandemic, Europeans consider the quality of life and situation of the economy in European regions have slightly

EU Autumn 2021 Economic Forecast: From recovery to expansion, amid headwinds

Q2 2021: Higher employment rates for natives than foreigners in the EU

The McKinsey week in Charts


BASF and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice close sale of Solenis to Platinum Equity

3D Printing

3D printing: The Final Frontier for International Trade in Goods?


Swiss President Guy Parmelin with EFTA in Brussels, Belgium


Tashkent Fashion & Textile Exhibition February 10 – 12, 2022 Tashkent, Usbekistan


EU Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Infrareal by Gelsenwasser and Swiss Life

EU Energy balances made easy

EU COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE EVALUATION of the impact of trade chapters of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements with six partners: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia

ECOFIN Council approve 2021 conclusions on EU statistics

EU Commission approves EUR 208 million German federal ‘umbrella’ scheme to compensate companies active in trade fairs and congress sector for damage suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak

The Future

The future of everything: What’s Next for Transportation


India’s Textile Commissioner marks her presence at “Textile Philately” presented by India ITME Society & India Post


European Union Prize for Literature: Commissioner Gabriel awards 13 emerging authors


AATCC Announces Olney Medal Recipient


Creating affordable, nutritious Nestlé porridges by fully valorising agricultural ingredients

Parcel Service

Postal services and parcel delivery: reports highlight success of European Single Market rules and challenges brought by digitisation


Timberland links with Hurr to release first rental collection

Ørsted and BASF sign a 25-year offshore wind power purchase agreement in Germany


Rodrigo Santos named member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG, and President of the Crop Science division

Thomas Gentil to Be New Deputy Head of Swiss Agroscope


Swiss Empa: Spalted wood -Teaching fungi how to write


Alibaba 2021 11.11 Global Shopping Festival delivers Steady Growth


18.4 % of EU population smoked daily in 2019


Textile Industry Overcomes Adversity to Support Students


No Time for Waste: PUMA pilots testing for biodegradable RE:SUEDE version of its most iconic sneaker

Five from Finland: Sustainable interior textiles


Swiss Producer and Import Price Index rose by 0.6% in October


The Tao of a DAO


Event looks at how to mitigate impact of rising shipping rates on trade flows


U.S. Opens Borders to Vaccinated Europeans, Others, After More Than 18 Months


EU recorded a trade surplus in waste materials in 2020


China, US welcomed as new participants in trade and environmental sustainability talks

WTO Members agree on recommendation to extend moratorium on IP “non-violation” cases