90 Minutes of Fashion History

THE MOVIE: “Without You I’m Nothing”

THE LOOK: Fashion cliches through the ages, pushed to the limit by the show’s star, comedian Sandra Bernhard (pictured). She wears ‘60s African-American Dashiki garb and mini-dresses, ‘70s hot pants, late ‘80s Chanel looks, and ‘90s-new designer labels. As Vegas stripper, lounge singer, Motown superstar and other characters, Bernhard changes from one hilarious get-up to another.

THE LABELS: The film was shot in 10 days, with about $7,500 of the $1-million budget going for wardrobe. Christian Lacroix, Donna Karan, Isaac Mizrahi and Romeo Gigli, along with vintage Chanel, are among the designer labels. For other outfits, “We scoured vintage stores, our closets, Sandra’s closet, and borrowed from designers,” says costume designer Raymond Lee. Hair and makeup artist Alfonso Noe made brilliant use of eyeliners, false lashes and press-on fingernails with diamond inlaid pinkies, as well as frosted lipsticks and body makeup. Hairstyles, often consisting of wigs shaped into blunt cuts and flips with bangs, were styled by Erica Rosenast.

THE SHOW STOPPERS: To sing a medley of Jewish folk songs, Bernhard wears a Catskills chic, crushed-velvet mini-dress, heavy gold earrings, leggings and gold baroque shoes on which the camera lingers. In her “Me and Mrs. Jones” number, Bernhard does a Vegas act in a slinky, front-tied, orange nylon jumpsuit, an upswept bubble hairdo, eyelashes, frosted lipstick and dragon lady nails. As Diana Ross, she wears a black asymmetrical wig, top and bottom false lashes, and a gold beaded gown with “Cindy Birdsong” and “Mary Wilson” scripted in black and Schiaparelli pink. And as “Old Glory,” she sheds her flag cape to reveal gold pasties and a sequined flag G-string. Body makeup makes her skin look smooth as silk.


THE PAYOFF: Lots of laughs, poignant thoughts and a history of fashion in 90 minutes. Bernhard’s singing voice isn’t bad either.