September 4, 2006

Out with old, in with new as Cher sheds Gothic

By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - Fashion icon and award-winning singer
and actress Cher is clearing her Malibu home of its Gothic
contents and reshaping her life in a giant garage sale.

Following a trend set by rock star Elton John, Cher is
selling off nearly 800 items from stage costumes to gem
encrusted jewelry, works of art, furniture and even a huge
Hummer car in an auction expected to raise more than $1

"This is a lot more than a garage sale. Apart from the
dresses and jewels there are Old Masters and architectural
drawings," said Darren Julien of Julien's auctions.

"She has a huge following. She is an icon. Her career in
song, stage and screen has spanned nearly four decades," he
told Reuters as some of the items went on show in London on
Monday ahead of the sale in Los Angeles on October 3-4.

The sale is being jointly organized by Sotheby's New York
office and Julien's of the United States.

Among the items on show are several dresses by star
designer Bob Mackie, white and yellow gold rings and necklaces
and a book of architectural drawings by 19th century Gothic
Revivalist Augustus Pugin.

Cher, born Cherylin Sarkisian in May 1946, first hit fame
alongside Sonny Bono with the 1965 hit "I got you babe," and
her roller-coaster career has been echoed by her turbulent and
often front-page private life.


An Oscar nominee for "Silkwood" and winner for
"Moonstruck," she has also won a Grammy, an Emmy and been
awarded Best Actress by the Cannes Film Festival and won three
Golden Globes.

But she is probably equally well known for her willowy,
body and contour-hugging flamboyant dresses.

"She decided a while ago that she wanted to sell off a few
things and change her style, and it grew from that to this
collection of some 200 gowns and costumes and nearly 800 items
in total," Julien said.

"She is redecorating her home, going for a Moroccan-Tibetan
look and selling the Gothic revival items," he added, noting
that the mannequins supporting the dresses had to be especially
made because of Cher's special figure.

But not all the money from the sale at the Beverly Hilton
will go back into Cher's home, an undeclared but "substantial"
portion will go to a range of charities that she supports,
Julien said.

And it is not as though she needs the money -- in 2002 the
Rolling Stone magazine estimated her personal wealth at $600