5 Minutes With Isaac Mizrahi Image by: Xcel Brands
We spoke to Isaac Mizrahi as he launched INMYC at The Bay.
It's a bit of an understatement to call Isaac Mizrahi simply a fashion designer. He creates gorgeous clothes (his fans include Natalie Portman and Sarah Jessica Parker), but, considering the Brooklyn, N.Y., native's influence on fashion, perhaps "visionary" would be a better description. Mizrahi was one of the first designers to champion a diffusion line with a mass brand—Isaac Mizrahi for Target. He also produced a groundbreaking book, How to Have Style, and the fashion documentary Unzipped. Now, fans can shop Mizrahi's clothing at Hudson's Bay, where he introduced IMNYC last spring. What's next? Beyond the memoir he's currently writing, Mizrahi is tight-lipped about future plans. Our guess is he'll be breaking new fashion ground—again.
In your 2008 book, How to Have Style, you showcased 12 women of different shapes who had real fashion dilemmas. Why did you decide to cast nonmodels?
It's supposed to be an instructional book for women, and I feel like they see enough models in fashion advertising. The kind of issues these women brought up—hips, busts, even eyebrows—resonated with others. The thing that was most compelling to me were the kinds of clothes that helped women in their lives, and that were chic and wonderful—and it wasn't just about runway clothes. They were clothes that people would actually wear.
What item should every woman have in her closet?
I like a longer calf-length skirt; it looks fresh. It's not the most cutting edge, but it's a bit more friend;y than your average trendy fashion piece. My favourite skirt from my Hudson's Bay collection is a pleated lamé. It's a great marriage of trendy fashion and timeless chic.
IMNYC Isaac Mizrahi skirt, $119, thebay.com.
You launched your first label in 1987. What's your secret to surviving and thriving over the past 30 years?
I've been flexible. My career has changed with the fashion world. I feel like I've done things that were forward thinking about what was happening in fashion—like my deal with Chanel, my partnership with Target and my movie Unzipped. Looking back, it's kind of wonderful to know that I kept in step. More and more, I'm pleased with my accomplishments. Living through these projects is really hard because you can't see success until you're a bit removed from it. My life is more meaningful than ever. The more I get involved with things like accessible fashion, the better I feel.