|born on||14 October 1961 at 03:40 (= 03:40 AM )|
|Place||New York, New York, 40n43, 74w0|
|Timezone||EDT h4w (is daylight saving time)|
|Astrology data||20°43' 14°29 Asc. 09°06'|
American celebrity and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi is best-known for his line of stylish, low-cost clothing for Target department stores; Unzipped, a documentary about the development of his 1994 high-fashion collection; and his flamboyant personality. Mizrahi has three times been named Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, but he is often seen as a refreshingly humorous and unpretentious figure in a field known for exaggerated self-seriousness. In addition to his career as a designer, he has appeared in film and on television and in a one-man cabaret show off-Broadway.
Mizrahi was born in Brooklyn to a family of Egyptian Jewish background. He spent his early childhood in Ocean Park, New Jersey but later moved back to Brooklyn, where he attended the Yeshiva of Flatbush. Mizrahi was not a good fit in this strict religious environment, as he was expelled multiple times for such misbehavior as impersonating rabbis and sketching clothing designs in his Bible. At the age of 15, he was accepted to New York’s High School for the Performing Arts and later attended the prestigious Parsons School of Design.
Mizrahi’s most important education may have been more informal. His father, Zeke Mizrahi, worked in the garment industry as a pattern cutter and children’s clothing manufacturer, and his mother, Sarah, was a fashion-lover who often took him on shopping trips to Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. In Unzipped, Sarah tells of her four-year-old son’s fascination with the daisies adorning a pair of her shoes. When Mizrahi was ten, his father bought the boy a sewing machine which he then used to create costumes for puppets. By age 13, he was already designing clothes not only for himself but also for his mother and her friend, Sarah Haddad (later Haddad-Cheney). With Haddad as mentor, he first put out items under his own label at age 15. In the mid-’70s, while he was still at student at Parsons, Mizrahi took on another mentor, the famed designer Perry Ellis, with whom he spent a grueling but inestimably valuable apprenticeship. Mizrahi has called Ellis his “guardian angel.” He also worked briefly for Jeffrey Banks and Calvin Klein.
In June 1987, with financial assistance from Haddad-Cheney, Mizrahi started his own womenswear company. In the following two years, he won his first major awards (one for new talent, named after his old mentor Perry Ellis, and another for womenswear design.) He premiered a menswear collection in April 1990. This was also the year in which he was first named CFDA Designer of the Year. Mizrahi’s gained much wider exposure with the release in 1995 of Unzipped, made by filmmaker Douglas Keeve about the development of the designer’s 1994 collection. The documentary has been called “the definitive movie about the fashion industry,” and it featured Mizrahi’s work with supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista. The film didn’t shy from depicting the year 1997 was an early highwater mark for Mizrahi’s fashion career: he suddenly folded up shop in 1998, after the loss of Chanel, his major financial backer. It was several years before he was ready for a full-scale return to the fashion industry. In 2004 he began two ventures, his fashion line for Target and “Isaac Mizrahi to Order,” a high-end company creating custom-made clothing for those willing to spend no less than $5000 for a dress. In the interim, however, he earned a 2002 Drama Desk award for costume design (for a 2001 revival of The Women).
In the hiatus between full-time design work, Mizrahi reinvented himself as a performer, creating a one-man cabaret act called “Les Mizrahi” that opened in 2000 and included personal anecdotes, fashion gossip and Broadway songs. He also exhibited his skills as a designer by sketching and sewing during parts of the show. Audiences and critics were charmed more by his personality than his singing, and soon he was hosting a talk show for the Oxygen Network. In 2005, another show, Isaac, debuted on the Style network. He has appeared in several films and on television shows, including the fashion-conscious Sex and the City, and Ugly Betty. In 2006, Mizrahi created a minor scandal when he interviewed celebrities at the Golden Globes for E!. His televised antics included looking down Teri Hatcher’s top, tactlessly referring Hilary Swank’s recent separation, and squeezing Scarlet Johansson’s breast (he later claimed to be feeling the fabric of her dress.)
When Mizrahi was eight or nine, he contracted spinal meningitis and spent his illness in bed eating and watching old movies on television. One of the films he saw during this time, a 1961 remake of Back Street, which depicted the glamour of the fashion industry, seems to have provided one of his first attractions to the world of design. Mizrahi has frequently referred to himself as fat. Mizrahi has said his “desert island essentials” include “buttered toast, vanilla ice cream [and] dark chocolate.” He lost 75 pounds during his first semester at the High School for the Performing Arts (1976), but more recently he has noted that Richard Avedon told him not to worry about his weight. “You can live very happily in this world overweight,” Mizrahi has said. “Being thin is optional.”
Mizrahi is openly gay, though he has described his style as “very heterosexual.” He was reported to have been romantically involved with filmmaker Douglas Keeve at the time he was making Unzipped. Mizrahi’s father, Zeke, died in 1983, the same year his mentor Perry Ellis became ill with AIDS. Ellis died in 1986. In his next life, Mizrahi says would like to come back as “Christy Turlington—the prettiest girl in the world.”
- (has as) mentor relationship with Ellis, Perry (born 3 March 1940)
- Death of Father 1983
- Death of Significant person 1986 (Friend and mentor Perry Ellis)
- Work : Begin Major Project 2002 (Began fashion lines for Target)
- Work : Prize 2004 (for his designs)
Karen Thorne quotes Isaac Mizrahi. Sy Scholfield also quotes various biographical resources (for Brooklyn, NY as place of birth) including an ascendant sign from him as reported in a newspaper article quoting a magazine profile"Bye-Bye, Buttons," by Susan Martin, 18 August 1996, Buffalo News, p. E3: "'With my Virgo ascendant, laundry and vacuuming are some of my favorite activities. Of the two, vacuuming a room that really needs it is my favorite. More of a purge than anything.'
- Passions : Sexuality : Homosexual male
- Vocation : Beauty : Designer/ Fashion
- Vocation : Business : Business owner
- Vocation : Business/Marketing : Product Marketing
- Notable : Awards : Vocational award