Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi (Born October 14, 1961) is an American TV presenter, fashion designer, and was the creative director of Liz Claiborne. He is best known for his eponymous fashion lines.

Early life

Mizrahi was born in Brooklyn, New York, to an observant Egyptian Jewish family. His father gave him a sewing machine at the age of ten. At 15, he launched his own label, IS New York, with the help of a family friend. He attended Yeshiva of Flatbush, High School of Performing Arts, and the Parsons School of Design.

Fashion career

Mizrahi presented his first collection in 1987 at a trunk show held by famed New York department store Bergdorf Goodman. The line immediately earned praise from fashion editors, prompting several top retailers to place orders. In 1989 he discussed his designs in an interview with Elizabeth Cannon. He described them as “controlled and glamorous”, “elegant”, “distilled, refined”, inspired by decadence, and by the diversity of New York City. He also expressed his interest in appealing to a refined and exclusive clientele. In 1992, the French fashion house Chanel bought a stake in the company and began to bankroll its operations. Despite continued critical acclaim, sales were inconsistent; Bloomingdale's executive Kal Ruttenstein stated that Mizrahi had "good years and bad years." This volatility is mainly attributed to the designer's failure to establish a defined aesthetic or "Mizrahi Look," as the frenetic designer was famed for changing gears each season. Though the company grossed between $10–20 million a year, it never made a profit, and in fact lost substantial amounts in its final four years of operation. Chanel eventually tired of the mounting losses and pulled financing in October 1998, forcing the closure of the company after the Fall 1998 collection. Among Mizrahi's fans and clients were Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Selma Blair, Julia Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker, Debra Messing and Natalie Portman, to name a few.

From 1995 to 1997, Mizrahi also designed a diffusion line, named "IS**C" in an act of "name effacement" intended to prevent dilution of the designer's full name (cf. the use of "G-d" by some members of the observant-Jewish community in which Mizrahi was raised). This lower-priced line (in the $275 to $850 range) was meant to diversify the label from the very expensive Isaac Mizrahi collection, but it failed to gain traction and was shuttered in 1997.

Mizrahi returned to fashion in 2002 when he began designing another diffusion collection, Isaac Mizrahi for Target. The line was an enormous hit, and soon spread to cover accessories, bedding, housewares, and pet products. Sales volume tripled over five years to over $300 million and introduced the designer to mainstream America. The line was discontinued in 2008 as Mizrahi left for Liz Claiborne.

Mizrahi designed for Claiborne for only one year, 2009. Although advertising campaigns for his Claiborne work—featuring Mizrahi and women of all sizes, races, and ages—were found in major fashion magazines, the line was a disaster almost from launch. The clothes and accessories were very difficult to find, as only a few minor departments stores, which were not found in major cities, carried Claiborne clothes. Gottschalks carried only a few pieces before declaring bankruptcy and liquidating, only weeks after Mizrahi's launch. Furthermore, the few Liz Claiborne outlets that existed were also far from major cities and were found at outlet malls that were too remote for most customers to visit. As a result, on December 2009, the Liz Claiborne website was closed and rumors abounded that the company was bankrupt and in serious debt. As of Fall 2010, Liz Claiborne clothes will be sold only at J.C. Penney, and are not designed by Mizarahi.

Media

Mizrahi has made appearances in numerous television shows and movies since the 1990s. In 1995, a movie was released about the development of his Fall 1994 collection called Unzipped. In Fall 2005, the Isaac show debuted on Style Network. He previously had a show on the Oxygen network.

Mizrahi often appears on many of E!'s programs and has become well-known for being flamboyant. He also appeared as himself in the episode "Plus One is the Loneliest Number" of the fifth season of Sex and the City, and in an episode of Spin City. He guest starred on the American dramedy series Ugly Betty, in which he played a reporter for the cable channel Fashion TV in the episode "Lose the Boss." He appeared as himself in The Apprentice season 1 (episode 6) as one of the celebrities supporting an auction for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. He also appeared on the public radio game show, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me in 2006, saying that "Fat is the new black."

Mizrahi has stated that he sees himself as an entertainer who can sing and act. On his Oxygen show, he sang jazz in a nightclub. He has also acted in films, appearing in Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks, Hollywood Ending and Celebrity.

Mizrahi was a contestant in the Jeopardy! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational. While initially finishing second in a quarter-final game to Jane Curtin, as the highest scoring non-qualifier, he replaced semi-finalist Andy Richter, who had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. He eventually lost to Michael McKean.

In 2009, Mizrahi began co-hosting the first season of The Fashion Show on Bravo TV with singer Kelly Rowland. Bravo launched the series to replace its former hit Project Runway, which now moved to the Lifetime network. Mizrahi returned as co-host in November 2010 for the show's second season, opposite close friend and colleague, supermodel Iman, who previously hosted the Canadian version of Project Runway. A representative of the network indicated that Bravo believed Mizrahi's exciting presenting style would work well with newcomer Iman and the credibility that she brings to the table as a genuine pioneer in the fashion world.

2006 Golden Globes

Mizrahi was an interviewer for The Red Carpet Show on E! for the Golden Globes in 2006. He took liberties with many female actresses, including looking down Teri Hatcher's dress, and feeling Scarlett Johansson's breast, over which she later expressed discomfort. He drew attention to Hilary Swank about being single given that she recently separated from her husband, Chad Lowe. He also asked many celebrities whether they were wearing underwear.

Costume design

Mizrahi has also worked as the costume designer for three Broadway revivals, including two plays (The Women in 2001 and Barefoot in the Park in 2006), and one operetta (Threepenny Opera in 2006). For his work on The Women, he won the 2002 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design. Mizrahi was also costume designer in the Metropolitan Opera's 2008 production of Orfeo ed Euridice, directed by Mark Morris, continuing as a longtime collaborator of Morris's in a partnership stretching as far back as 1997, when Mizrahi created costumes for Morris's film project with Yo-Yo Ma, Falling Down Stairs from Ma's Inspired By Bach series.

Other projects

  • He made a series of comic books called Isaac Mizrahi Presents the Adventures of Sandee the Supermodel, published by Simon & Schuster
  • He co-wrote the historical documentary Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites for PBS
  • He also narrated the children's classic, Peter and the Wolf, at the Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process performing arts series in December 2007 and in 2010
  • Mizrahi is developing, for the CW network, a one-hour scripted project called "The Collection," which draws on his experiences as a designer
About Jewogle
Jewogle is not quite like any other Jewish site on the web. It looks like Google. (The look is, in fact, a parody). But, Jewogle is NOT a search engine of other Jewish sites. Jewogle brings you both a Kosher Search engine that allows you to find information across cyberspace from Jewogle certified kosher sites as well as giving an extensive listing of some of the most famous Jews in their respective fields. Read More
Advertisement
Popular Jews

Famous clothing designer who was born in the Bronx in 1942. His parents were immigrants from Europe. Klein was always known as the best dressed boy on the block. He began his company in 1968 with $10,000 and the help of his childhood friend, Barry Schwartz. The rest is fashion history.

Karan, born Donna Faske, is a design mogul. She began with Anne Klein and took over as chief designer of that firm with Kleins death in 1974. Ms. Karan is one of many celebrities reported to be studying kabbalah, Jewish mysticism.

Bauer was born and raised in the state of Washington, he was a husband, a father, a businessman, an innovator and a true outdoorsman. Eddie Bauer lived a full life filled with ideas and inventions.

Lauder was a famous cosmetics manufacturer who was born Josephine Esther Mentzer in Queens, NY. Her married name, Lauter, was later changed to Lauder. Named to Time Magazines list of the 100 most influential business people of the century. She built the company from scratch; based on great service, free gifts, and a great sense of the market.

Mizrahi ia an American TV presenter, fashion designer, and was the creative director of Liz Claiborne. He is best known for his eponymous fashion lines. As a child Mizrahi attended a yeshiva.

Cole is a famous shoe designer. Rather than sell from an exhibitor space, he registered the company as a movie production company with NYC officials. He thus got permission to park a forty foot trailer in midtown and sold 40,000 pairs of shoes out of the trailer in a matter of days. Cole has recently been reported to be studying with the orthodox group Aish Ha Torah.

Bakst was born Lev Rosenberg in Russia in 1864. Bakst was his mothers maiden name. He converted to Christianity as a young man, but later returned to Judaism. Bakst was the principal costume designer for Diaghilevs famous Ballet Russes.

Strauss is a German-Jewish founder of the Levi Strauss Company. The company, which began in San Francisco in the 1850s, made clothes gold miners wanted. His sisters descendants, the "Haas" family, still control the company.

Jacobs is an American fashion designer. As one of todays premier clothing designers his line can be found in Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman. He has been the creative director of the French design house Louis Vuitton since 1997. Jacobs is on Time Magazine's 2010 Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Azria is a French fashion designer of Tunisian Jewish descent who founded the contemporary women's clothing brand BCBGMAXAZRIA. Azria is also the designer, chairman and CEO of BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP, a global fashion house that encompasses over 20 brands. He is based in Los Angeles.