Isaac Mizrahi life and biography

Isaac Mizrahi picture, image, poster

Isaac Mizrahi biography

Date of birth : 1961-10-14
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Brooklyn, New York, United States
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2010-08-26
Credited as : Fashion designer, writer,

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Isaac Mizrahi, born October 14, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York is a noted American fashion designer and writer.


In Isaac Mizrahi Presents the Adventures of Sandee the Supermodel, noted fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi describes the escapades of Sandee, a fictional model from Bountiful, Utah, who is discovered by designer Yvesaac Mizrahi, a thinly disguised version of the author. Sandee rises from her homespun roots to become a supermodel, and eventually stars in a documentary about her life. On the way she meets jealous rivals, endures drug problems, and suffers from anorexia. A Kirkus Reviews writer remarked that although the illustrations, done by William Frawley, are weak, the book's gossipy insider's knowledge of the fashion industry is entertaining and interesting.

Mizrahi spoke lovingly of his parents in a Harper's Bazaar interview with Sandra Bernhard. Still close to his doting mother, Sarah, raised in the Jewish faith and still a practicing Jew, he often visits her Brooklyn home for holiday celebrations. Mizrahi also told Bernhard how his father, now deceased, supported his son's childhood interest in fashion. "He was such a wonderful man," Mizrahi said. "He bought me sewing machines. He thought I would continue in his footsteps and inherit his children's wear business, but I never had any aspirations to it."

Although Mizrahi was not interested in the retail business, he had a powerful sense of his own destiny as a fashion designer. "I always was a designer," he told Bernhard. "There was never a question. I have always been and I always will be a designer. I swear to God. It's no different now than when I was fifteen."

Mizrahi's life is depicted in Unzipped, a documentary film by Douglas Keeve that follows the designer as he works on his fall 1994 collection and also explores the roots of his interest in fashion. Mizrahi relates in the film that at the age of four, he was fascinated by the fake flowers on a pair of his mother's shoes; at seventeen he made his own purple suit to wear on a trip to Paris. It's not surprising, as Martha Duffy wrote in Time, that he became a successful designer "whose business straddles youthful downtown chic and conservative uptown department stores."

Throughout Unzipped, Mizrahi's energetic, sometimes exaggerated personality comes through. Deirdre McMurtry remarked in a Maclean's review that "midway through Unzipped, the urge to slap Isaac Mizrahi becomes almost overwhelming," although other reviewers, such as David Denby of New York and Martha Duffy of Time, found Mizrahi's manic energy and wit engaging and, as Duffy said, "hilarious."

As the movie shows, Mizrahi gets his ideas from a variety of sources--Denby listed "old movies and TV shows, from jokes, from desire, a pastiche of references and sources held together by an imagination both imperious and whimsical." And, Denby remarked, the documentary is "probably not the best movie one can imagine about fashion, but it's the best movie we are likely to get about a single creative temperament in fashion."

"I don't do things to make money," Mizrahi told Vogue interviewer Charles Gandee. "I don't do things to socially position myself. I only do things that I believe in. That burn in me. . . . Maybe I seem a little pretentious and overstated, but really, that's how I live--pretentiously and overstatedly."


Born October 14, 1961, in Brooklyn, NY; son of Zeke and Sarah Mizrahi. Education: Attended the High School of Performing Arts and Parsons School of Design. Religion: Jewish.


Perry Ellis New Fashion Talent Award; Council of Fashion Designers of America award, 1989 and 1990; named Best Womenswear Designer, 1989.

Fashion designer. Apprenticed to designer Perry Ellis, 1982, full-time post, 1982-84; worked with Jeffrey Banks, 1984-85, and Calvin Klein, 1985-87; (with Sarah Hadad Cheney) founded design firm Isaac Mizrahi, 1987; first formal show, 1988; first spring collection launched November, 1988; first menswear line launched April, 1990. Costume designer for stage productions, including Twyla Tharp's ballet Brief Fling, American Ballet Theatre; and David Sedaris's play Santaland Diaries, 1996. Appeared in films, including Fame, Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer, 1980; For Love or Money, Universal, 1993; Catwalk, 1995; Unzipped, Miramax, 1995; Celebrity (also known as Woody Allen Fall Project), Sweetland Films, 1998; and Beautopia, 1998. Host of television shows, including The Isaac Mizrahi Show, Oxygen Network, 2001-03, and Isaac: Have a Better Day, Style Network, 2005--.


* Isaac Mizrahi Presents the Adventures of Sandee, the Supermodel, or, Yvesaac's Model Diaries, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

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