Pearlman, Chee (editor). “Isaac Mizrahi”, Yale University Press. 2016.
Isaac Mizrahi’s first fashion collection in 1986 was met with critical acclaim and that is still true today. In this new book, we have his signature couture collections beautifully illustrated and lavishly presented. We see him here as classic yet inventively re-imagined. Mizrahi pioneered the concept of “high/low” in fashion, and was the first high-end fashion designer to create an accessibly priced mass-market line. He also approached other complex issues through his designs, as well—mixing questions of beauty and taste with those of race, religion, class, and politics.
While Mizrahi is best known for his clothing, his work in theater, film, and television is also explored in this new volume and with it we get a fascinating discourse on high versus low, modern glamour and contemporary culture. Three essayists, Ulrich Lehmann, Kelly Taxter and Lynn Yaeger discuss Mizrahi’s place in fashion history, his close connection to contemporary art, and the nature of his designs. New photography brings life to Mizrahi’s fashions and an interview with him gives an intimate perspective to his work in diverse media.
My only complain here is that the book ended before I had enough Mizrahi. The book ties in beautifully to the Mizrahi retrospective of the designers work currently at the Jewish museum in NYC. This is a very fine way to acquaint new fashionistas that came after his couture discontinued in 1998. The pieces selected here showcase Mizrahi’s iconoclastic view on fashion but furthermore emphasize his mastery in the usage of bold color.