Get to Know: Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi has to bring his clothes to L.A., period. He's opened his only store in New York and, excuse me, what's fair about that? I mean, why do they get him and we don't? His Fall 2010 line just showed at Fashion Week, and it was amazing. We need him, and he needs us, too. Sounds like a match to me.

I discovered Isaac Mizrahi New York while innocently strolling up Madison Avenue, trying to stretch my legs and not my pocketbook. I crossed 67th Street and happened to glance to my left when a new shop caught my eye. "What's this?" I thought, as I veered off course to check it out. There, in the front window of Isaac's first-ever shop, was a simple, elegant, deep violet coat with gamine lines, gold buttons and a siren's call that hit me hard, rendered me helpless and, like some powerful undertow, pulled me inside. As I entered the red brick brownstone, I thought, "Isaac Mizrahi? Hmm. What's he been up to lately? No harm in a quick look-see." Quick look-see my eye! I walked through the door, fell in love and practically never left. The shop is perfect: small -- which I love since I get overwhelmed in department stores -- light and airy. The first thing you notice is Isaac's great sense of color: luscious deep red, tangerine, pinkberry, loden, beautiful shades of blue and gold. Lean cashmere jackets are paired with glittering fabrics cut so simply that you think "Audrey Hepburn with a pop -- that works!" There are sweater sets you can live in, shoes and bags (some day-glo yellow duffle shapes wrapped in nylon "dusters" to stay dry should it rain) and a glass cabinet that holds Isaac's whimsical jewelry. I bought a pair of long, metal, reasonably priced fish earrings that were definitely not me, but that I had to have. One ear dangles fish bones and a tail (like you see when your bronzino is filleted at the table) and the other an entire fish skeleton with the head. How can something so gruesome sounding be so creative and chic? "Want to see my crazy new Isaac earrings?" I asked my husband Howard, who tends to be a conservative dresser. I chuckled as he followed me into my dressing room, since I knew he was in for a shock. I donned the earrings, turned around and watched as a quizzical look washed over his face. He squinted his eyes, cocked his head to the side and then started to laugh. "If you're happy, I'm happy" he said and that's exactly the point. Isaac Mizrahi's clothes are elegant, easy to wear, and they will make you happy.

Should you need, here's a super-quick refresher on Isaac's background (you've no doubt heard it before). Born to "dirt poor" Syrian Jews in Brooklyn, he went from Yeshiva to the High School of the Performing Arts, thank God, where he lost 75 pounds, found himself and blossomed. He trained with Perry Ellis, then Calvin, and at 26 gave birth to his first collection to rave reviews. Isaac's so enormously talented that he's a veritable one-man band: he plays the piano well (!), writes, acts, designs costumes, hosts TV shows and on and on like that. Right now it has all come together, and he's at the very top of his game.

Last Thursday, the Fall 2010 collection debuted in the tent at Bryant Park and it was nothing short of fantastic. I went to ogle the clothes while my son, Andrew, only came along to check out the models. But it wasn't just the line that impressed: brief though it was, the production, honed to perfection, was as captivating as any Broadway show I've seen lately. The theme was "Central Park," and trees painted on white shark's tooth scrims hung above the runway and swayed in some imagined breeze. The models emerged from a glamorous evening scene of Central Park airbrushed on white canvas--one you could see only from a fabulous penthouse apartment high in the sky. A baby grand piano, bass and drums provided the music, a welcome relief from the usual piped-in fare. Suddenly, about mid-show, the weather in the tent changed and snow began falling from who-knows-where? How genius, how magic, how fun! The collection itself was even better. It included a rusty brown outerwear jacket with detachable fur-edged hood; a sleek charcoal cashmere round-necked dress with three-quarter-length sleeves; a loden green zipped jacket worn over a pencil skirt; a navy, three- quarter-length coat with an off-side zipper that was so "Jackie" and wearable and chic. Also on view: to-die-for evening clothes with glamorous shoes and bags. Honestly, one thing was better than the next.

And then there was Isaac himself bounding in for his bow at the end of the show, filled with energy and completely adorable like some grown-up Saint Bernard pup. The first time I met him he was so charming and embracing that I wanted to drag him off to a corner with some coffee and have him all to myself. As his good friend Linda Evangelista told me, "God gave him the personality for at least a hundred people." Believe me, you'll want him for your best friend, your dinner party guest and, most of all, your couturier.

So, long story short, I'm a believer. Though he's been at it for twenty years, the clothes he's doing now are his best and his freshest. He gets women, our lives, what we need and, mostly, he just wants us to look great. Check out 23 East 67th Street when you're in New York and, fingers crossed, Isaac will come visit us in LA soon.