Left: Kathleen Beckett; Right: Isaac Mizrahi
If there’s anyone more madcap, entertaining, exuberant, expressive, or outgoing than Isaac Mizrahi (or anyone who is better at ‘shmoozing’ for that matter), I’d like to know who it is. The multi-talented fashion designer (a bona fide tv personality in his own right, who has also directed and designed costumes for the ballet, modern dance productions, and theatre), can arguably be credited with starting the whole ‘high/ low’ thing years ago when he partnered with Target while simultaneously launching his haute couture collection for Bergdorf Goodman (both of which were shown together and mixed together at a runway show at Cipriani 42nd Street). But there were nothing in the least bit 'low' about a recent buffet lunch and shopping event held at his chic upper east side boutique (23 East 67th Street), for Friends of Fashion (www.friendsoffashion.com) and more than 30 invited guests.
I guess you could call it Four Seasons Chez Isaac, since the wonderful space, which boasts a garden in the back, was filled with clothing from spring/summer 2010, fall/winter 2010, and resort 2011, in addition to accessories and home furnishings. Those in attendance were able to make purchases and place orders for fall (and as at all Friends of Fashion shopping events, 10% of every sale goes to help the fashion industry).
It was unsurpisingly highly visual and decidedly colorful, from the striking chairs in orange and lime green (the latter was accessorized with a hot pink pillow), to the wonderful assortment of clothing and accessories on display (a lively video of the fall show, held in February, played on one wall allowing all to see). The moment Isaac appeared (clad in head to toe black), he quickly milled around the store, meeting and greeting and soon thereafter, Kathleen Beckett, founder of Friends of Fashion, stood before the crowd with the designer, making a short welcoming speech (during which time she talked about the organization’s mission). She then introduced Isaac, who spoke off-the-cuff and straight from the heart.
The iconic multi-tasker, who currently designs for Liz Claiborne and QVC in addition to his eponymous collections, spoke about his major inspirations, from his beloved New York City and Fred Astaire, who inspired his spring line, to the young, plugged in, and oh-so-chic team (in their late 20's and 30's) who he is proud to call his design collaborators. What came across loud and clear was that for Isaac, it’s all about "pride of craft" (“I’m very proud of the clothes I make in my house”), his fascination with the “problem solving” aspect of design, and most importantly, DESIGN, with a capital D ("it's not as much about fashion as it is about great, timeless design" he quipped). One thing that is undeniable is that good design truly does not have expiration date.
(For full disclosure, as I have previously mentioned, in addition to being editor-in-chief of the lookonline.com, I also serve as style director for Friends of Fashion). For more information, go to Friends of Fashion (www.friendsoffashion.com).