I was born in the 70’s, so like the music, many a film has made a grand impression on this then impressionable girl. The first time I saw Mahogany I was elated. I had a Diana Ross doll, I loved to dress up and I had (have) a penchant for melodrama.
For me, Barry Gordy’s 1975 film Mahogany is perfection. Mahogany is the story of Tracy Chambers played by the indelible Diana Ross, a poor aspiring designer in Chicago by night going to fashion school and by day working her way up from secretary to assistant at the high profile department store where she is discovered by Sean McEvoy. Sean is a famed fashion photographer played by the wickedly complicated Anthony Perkins. Under his wings, Tracy quickly becomes a rising star and international sensation in the modeling world known as Mahogany.
Tracy’s boyfriend Brian is an aspiring grass roots politician dedicated to making the poor district where he and Tracy come from a better place. Brian played by Billy Dee Williams is charming, and thoughtful until it comes to Tracy’s career. Sean is her fashion patron saint as long as he gets to possess her. Tracy in the meantime struggles to hold on to her sanity and her self while torn between these two worlds. She must find her way back to her roots and her dream. (“Do you know where you’re going to….”)
The costume design is actually by Diana Ross. Love it or hate it, the woman is a STAR! Cliche ridden and full of angst, over the top fashion costumes and pitchy dialogue make Mahogany one of my favorite films. No guilt in this pleasure. Glorious campy melodrama at its best. Mahagony is a spectacle from Tracy’s creative sketches and designs, to glamorous editorial shots/film frames it’s a delight from start to finish when Tracy finally debuts her own line, at a price. No spoilers here darlings. You’re just going to have to watch the movie if you have been deprived thus far.