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Tag Archives: Isaac MizrahiImage Image
Confectioner’s cakes, colored poodles, giant bows? Mizrahi cheerfully digs into American upper class cliché, activating his signature sarcastic wit, given life through his unique vision of classicism and kitsch. It’s a frightful and delightful amalgam of camp and couture and despite the show dogs and pastry chefs there are some really exquisite clothes, some of his best in years. Transforming his oxymoronic themes into an exploration of subdued turbid color, discreetly ostentatious form, and quietly loud prints, the result is far more complex than a quick gander might perceive. It’s about Mizrahi’s humor; his ability to bastardize the magnificently mundane and make from it wearable, elegant and strange clothes. It’s also Mizrahi’s sophistication, beginning with his initial experiments at subverting couture fantasy and American ease over two decades ago; when he first brought American fashion up to speed with the post-modern currents that would define the 90s. And now 20 years later and in a much quieter spot, far removed fron the roar and din that had greeted his debut, the crowned prince of American fashion still doesn’t have a thing to prove.
Mizrahi elaborates on his Spring/Summer 1990 collection for CNN’s Elsa Klensch
Twenty years ago, New York saw the rise of the first generation of American designers who could oblige the post-modern values which had begun to alter the course of fashion; negotiating the tricky re-evaluation of luxury, exclusivity, and glamour. Let’s call them the post-Perry Ellis generation: designers who had witnessed Ellis’s subversion and repositioning of classic Americana and his cheery exploitation of the sacred and profane. Ellis had pulled off a coup in American sportswear, essentially creating “anti-fashion” with his kitschy motifs, wrinkled fabrics, and casual ease. He challenged almost every notion of bourgeois or preppy good taste and appropriate dress and he was loved for it. One important value that Ellis would impart to this new generation would be a steadfast strain of individuality – designing clothes that could act as a total macrocosm for the wearer, a solipsist cocoon that could staunchly withstand any outside pressures (a terribly American idea, of course). Ellis, and those who followed him, made clothes that seemed immune to to any imposing fashion discourse; they were not reactionary because they existed in their own universe and could never know anything beyond it.
The other important impression that Ellis would leave, in fact, it is the most important idea behind Ellis’s legacy, is humor: the ability to laugh and have fun — to brush the weight of the world off your shoulder and not charge ahead, but skip merrily. It would open up a whole new set of paradigms for the ‘90s and allow for innovations not only in design but fashion marketing and culture. And so, 20 years ago, as fashion was moving on from a global economic upset, while Paris had Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang and Milan had Miuccia Prada, each laying the blueprints for a new world order of fashion; New York had Isaac Mizrahi…
Brought to Garmento’s attention by Matthew Ames: Sandra wears a Mizrahi creation from the designer’s 1989 Spa collection…
by Elizabeth Cannon for BOMB Magazine
“Move your head a little to the right please…That’s great, Isaac!”
As I enter the Isaac Mizrahi studio, the designer is seated on a cutting table brightly illuminated by photo floods. The phone is ringing, the staff is readying for a trunk show the next day in Beverly Hills and evidences of work-in-progress are everywhere.
Elizabeth Cannon Did you design the tartan chiffon fabric?
Isaac Mizrahi Yes. It is so wonderful to imagine Black Watch floating that way. Do you know the names of the tartans and the variations: muted, royal or hunting? The ones called muted, for instance, were buried for years in chests. So they faded. It’s this whole narrative. Now they’re actually produced that way.
You can view the entire story at BOMB Magazine’s own website.