Alert the navel observatory. Cher, bare midriff and all, has been spied on the cover of a catalog launching her latest enterprise, a line of home furnishings, clothing and jewelry spiced with a strongly medieval flavor.
Last month 350,000 copies of the slick 48-page catalog were mailed to upscale households nationwide offering items such as a French fleur-de-lis wrought-iron wall sconce for $185 and a silk velvet Gothic pillow for $110. Cher, interviewed from her home in Malibu, Calif., said she personally chose the items, some of which are replicas of objects in her homes.
The singer-actress, 48, who put $2 million of her own money into the venture, said the customer-service center in Memphis (800-726-2882) is getting 1,000 to 2,000 calls a day for the catalog, and as of mid-November had processed 600 to 700 orders. Early customer favorites include a 17th-century Gothic-style chair with curved arms ($225) and incense burners, such as the $40 reclining Egyptian goddess that is a reproduction of a gift she received years ago from her mother.
"We've had to reorder. . . . I had no idea of what I was getting into," said Cher, who has hawked cosmetics, perfume and exercise videos as well as albums. "It was just a guess. I picked things I liked. People warned me against certain things, like incense. They said it was too-1960s hippies. But we sell 50 to 100 packets of it a day."
Cher also wrote the blurbs in the catalog, called "Sanctuary,"
offering personal comments about many of the objects and marking her own favorites, such as the 2-foot-diameter handmade ancient sun wall ornament ($54). "I changed the text and the prices 10 million times," she added.
The Oscar-winning actress and singer said that in the past 30 years she has built or redesigned "at least 10" houses in places such as Bel-Air, Calif., Aspen, Colo., and New York. She's having a new house built in Miami Beach, which she described as a Venetian house around a courtyard with a third-floor tower and Gothic and Moorish architecture.
To date all of her houses have been decorated by Ron Wilson. "But now," the star said, "my input is equal to his. I worked with an architect in Miami. I pick out my own fabrics."
Cher, who does not like being labeled an actress, a singer or a cataloger - "although I can do all of those things" - said "I'm really in the business of making things beautiful."