The son of a children’s fashion designer, the very talented Isaac Mizrahi was born in 1961 in Brooklyn. His inclination towards fashion designing from the very start and determination to follow his father’s footsteps and become a designer proved to the fashion industry that Mizrahi was here to stay.
The young Mizrahi teamed up with a friend, Sarah Haddad – Cheney and started his very first company IS New York and began distributing his outfits to local stores. This much awaited break for Mizrahi proved to be fruitful and there was no looking back for him. He was hired to work at Parson’s fulltime where his work was much appreciated.
1980 was the year when Mizrahi caught another lucky break in his career when he got a chance to perform in a teen film called Fame. The following year he joined college and began working as an apprentice for Perry Ellis whom he has always considered his mentor. 1982 was a bittersweet year for Isaac because his father expired but at the same time he was recognized as ‘outstanding student designer’ at the Parsons Fashion Critics Award Show by judges like Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta was some consolation. Recognition from these world class designers helped him seal the deal at Ellis for working fulltime after graduating from college. Later, he gained a lot of insight from Calvin Klein about tailoring.
His company experienced growing pains in `87 when he along with Cheney launched Isaac Mizrahi New York at Soho. Mizrahi sealed the deal with Revlon in `88 and had the honor of Audrey Hepburn sporting an Isaac Mizrahi outfit in the ad but the deal was short lived due to the riots by animal rights activists. The next year he was presented the Perry Ellis Award for Emerging Talent by Liza Minnelli. It was the same year when Mizrahi’s outfit made its way to Vogue’s cover. Mizrahi’s debut of his first menswear line was launched in April 1990.
Isaac Mizrahi got lucky in 1991 and won his second CFDA Design of the Year award but that’s not all; he experimented with footwear too. His fall show was also featured in Douglas Keeve’s documentary, Unzipped which bagged the Audience Award at the Sundance Film festival in 1995. In 1996, the young Natalie Portman became the face of his low price clothing line – Isaac. However, 1997 brought misfortune when his brand’s launch turned out to be a flop due to fluctuations in Asia’s economic market and his clothing line faltered along the way. Bad luck continued when the largest stakeholder Chanel Inc. backed off due to consistent losses. But he got a chance to make up for lost time when Isaac Mizrahi for Target collection hit the stores and made good profits. In 2005, he also tried his hand at hosting a television show on Style network where he gave fashion advice. He resumed work and showcased his designs at the New York Fashion week after three years of hibernation in 2007 and launched his bridal collection with his handbag collection in tow. He had a lot happening in 2008 and 2009 with publishing his book, How to Have Style and designing bags in support of presidential candidate Barack Obama. He also opened up his first boutique on the Upper East Side in New York.
With achievements and contributions to the fashion industry like Mizrahi’s, one can say that he has surely left an indelible mark in the industry and will become a role model for many young fashion designers to follow in the years to come.