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Posts Tagged ‘Isaac Mizrahi’

IMG_20191203_130459My favorite part of the holiday season is that quiet time between Christmas and New Year’s when most of the rush is OVER. When we finally have a chance to stop, stay home, and relax. This is the best time to curl up with a pile of books.

And what’s a better gift for Christmas (Dec. 25), Hanukkah (Dec. 22- Dec. 30), Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) than a book?

On my fashion book recommendation list is IM: A Memoir (Flatiron Books) by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. I devour fashion stories and Mizrahi’s is a good one. He was part of the generation that landed in NYC in the early 80s when the city was edgy but real and making it there without buckets of money was still possible.

I read IM while visiting Manhattan and it was a kick to be walking past some of Mizrahi’s references –  like Macy’s on W. 34th Street across from which was his father’s office (he manufactured children’s clothing) or M&J Trimming on W. 38th Ave.,  (touted to be the best trim shop in Manhattan).

IM is a complete memoir starting with Mizrahi’s childhood in Brooklyn. His family was part of the Syrian Jewish community. With two older sisters and a fashionista mother, our hero was all about style from a young age. But he struggled as an overweight kid who liked Broadway tunes and spent his time making puppets and perfecting his impersonation of Barbra Streisand. He was an outsider at school, in his community, and at home. But he had a close relationship with his mother and even though he was unhappy, on some level it seemed that he accepted and even embraced his quirkiness.

I found the early part of this memoir fascinating, especially the section when Mizrahi attends School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. The same school featured in the 1980 film, Fame.  In fact Mizrahi auditioned for the gay character, Montgomery, which went to Paul McCrane. But he was in the film as part of a montage. It’s little tidbits like this that make IM a fun read.

Although Mizrahi initially wanted to become a performer, he was also drawn to fashion and he began to sell his designs at age 15 while still in high school. That pretty much set his fate, at least for a while.

In IM we get a peek at the fashion industry, how it worked back then and some behind-the scene descriptions. There’s a lot of name dropping and talk about Mizrahi’s friendships with the likes of Liza Minneli and Anna Wintour (both at one time pretty close with Mizrahi but the friendships didn’t stand the test of time). Well-written (ghost written?) and detailed, the narration doesn’t get in its own way. I was disappointed that there are no photos and I thought his work with QVC deserved more than a mention. I was interested to know how that came about.  Target, however, does get a chapter.

There is much to say about this book but I have holiday chores to get to! I’ll wrap it up by saying IM, A Memoir by Isaac Mizrahi is a good choice for you, my fashionable readers, and/or any fashionable on your holiday list.

 

 

 

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IMG_20191203_153101That summer job at Perry Ellis transformed my attitude toward what working in fashion could mean. Perry made the pursuit of excellence seem as important in fashion as it was in medicine or law. Lives might not have been at stake, but it was evident that even something as superficial as fashion required first, the desire to make something of quality; and second, the necessity of sacrificing almost everything else to hard work. 

Isaac Mizrahi, American fashion designer and performer.

I think anything done well – anything – requires hard work.

This quote is from Mizrahi’s memoir, IM. Stay tuned for a review of this book later in the week.

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On the 20th anniversary of Sex and the City we are looking back at one of my favorite style moments in Unoriginal Sin (season five, episode two, 2002). Recap: Miranda has asked Carrie to be Brady’s godmother but Carrie is feeling unfit for the job. It doesn’t help that Charlotte tells her she’s becoming cynical. This is also when Carrie finds out that a publisher is interested in a book deal. (Yes, I know my S&TC pretty darn well!)

In one outside autumn scene with Charlotte, Carrie is sporting a sweater that I adore. It’s a beige shade with a turquoise C  in the middle. Simple but oh-so charming and I really like the odd color combination.  I’m also a big fan of initials. She’s paired that with a plaid cap, which suits her face. The heart brooch is a nice touch and we see it repeated throughout the season.

I found out recently that this sweater was part of an Isaac Mizrahi collection back in the day. Sara Jessica Parker called up Mizrahi and asked to use this sweater in the show. Later in 2016 it was part of his retrospective exhibit at The Jewish Museum in NYC. 

Readers, are you/were you a fashion fan of S&TC? What were some of your favorite looks from the show?

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IMG_20170423_111916977Isaac Mizrahi designs really stylish clothes with a reasonable price tag. Not cheap like H&M and Zara, but say $35 for a cotton t-shirt, $75 for a dress, $50 for pants. His look is part preppy, part hip and all surprisingly well constructed.

His line is made in China, which to me, in the past, meant junk. But I have learned that what comes out of China varies in quality. For Isaac Mizrahi the people doing the sewing are skilled and someone cares about quality control.

I wonder about all that. Are the seamstress paid well? How are the working conditions?

Fashion Revolution Week is an opportunity to think about these things and ask questions.

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Fashion’s Night Out is the gateway to the season.

Clothing designer Isaac Mizrahi.

We have a new fall fashion tradition and it’s called Fashion’s Night Out. Now in its fourth year, FNO was created by Vogue editor Anna Wintour to support the fashion industry, or put another way – to push sales. This year’s spectacle event is set for Thursday, September 6th.

Initially FNO was a one night fashion sales frenzy in Manhattan but it has quickly spread across the globe as big city retailers sign on. To participate shops must apply and fork out $250 and make all kinds of promises including to sell merchandise at full price.

In Manhattan, designers as well as artists, models, and Anna Wintour herself will add a touch of glamour to the night as they hop around town appearing at shops large and small. Word is that this year “The Biebs” will show up somewhere in the city. Similar scenarios will take place around the country and the world including Brazil, Russia, and Turkey.

I’m conflicted about FNO. It does sound like fun and I’m all for supporting the fashion industry, but I don’t care for the heavy commercialism surrounding this event. (Interestingly, I read last year in Women’s Wear Daily that sales were not strong. People came out to spot celebrities but kept a tight grip on their money.)

Personally, I’d prefer a night of just fashion: Events such as lectures on great designers of the past; talks on how to put an outfit together; perhaps a designer Q&A panel. The industry could afford to invest in a little education and inspiration and actually, that might have better returns in the long run.

Wow! I like this idea. Anna, are you listening?

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