Saturday, August 6, 2016

EXHIBITIONS: "Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History" brings riotous color and joie de vivre to NYC's Jewish Museum

In its last week at the Jewish Museum in NYC -- catch it if you can! Ends August 7.

Portrait of the artist as an ever-young man, 2015

Through his unique combination of charm, inventiveness, pizzazz and entrepreneurial 
savvy, prolific designer Isaac Mizrahi has earned a special place in the hearts 
of fashionistas all over the world. An exciting exhibition of his clothing, 
hats, jewelry, shoes, accessories, as well as costumes for theater, opera, 
and dance opened on March 18 at the Jewish Museum in New York. 

Mizrahi was born in Brooklyn in 1961, to observant Jewish parents who had 
emigrated from Syria. His father gave him his first sewing machine
when he was 10 years old.  

 Orange Orange jumpsuit, 1988
Mizrahi was still an unknown when his first-ever runway show
in 1988 received rave reviews from the fashion press.

At that time, the NY Times wrote:
"Remember the name Isaac Mizrahi. He is this year's hottest new 
designer. His first and only fashion show, in April, was so professionally 
executed, so tasteful and imaginative, that it catapulted him into the big time."

 °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °
A color extravaganza at the Mizrahi exhibition

 Elevator pad gown, 2005
Grosgrain-ribbon bodice, quilted silk and lamb’s-wool skirt;
inspired by the "workhorse elevator padding used by movers."
(Sketch, above, and fabric design, below)
 All photos courtesy of the Jewish Museum, NYC, unless otherwise noted

 °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °
"Isaac Mizrahi’s inventive and provocative style brings complex issues into the arena of fashion, igniting a spirited discourse about high versus low, modern glamour, and contemporary culture. His runway shows were cast with unconventionally beautiful models of all ethnicities, dressed in Star of David belts, Western wear infused handmade lace, Adidas sneakers in place of high heels, handbags worn as hats, or a humble cotton undershirt paired with a floor-length taffeta skirt."
... curatorial note 
Blossom Blazers, double-silk jackets with ruffle collar, silk crepe pants, 1991. 
“I tried to take the silliest things, like ruffles, and toughen them up,” Mizrahi says. 
Evening dress or blazer? You decide. 

 °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °
Uniting opposites -- casual and formal, playful and elegant, couture and 
off-the-rack --  is a Mizrahi signature.

Sketch for Hologram Leaves Dress, 2008
Inspired by ... “Kitchen towels. O.K.? 
Where they’re printed with fruit and leaves in the fall? ... 
Those prints made me super super happy when I was a kid
I don’t know why.”

 °     °     °     °     °     °     °     ° 
 Below are a couple of photos from Mad for Mod's
stylish NYC correspondent, Murphy Birdsall.

Above: Poppy dress and elegant outerwear w/floaty skirt

"I was really interested in the background outfit with the down-filled evening jacket. 
That’s my kind of thing -- I always fear being cold when I get dressed up."... MB

Below: One of Murphy's favorites, "Duckie"
"I like Duckie because it looks like something a child (or childish adult) would 
put together for a show in the living room."  ... MB

Mizrahi's propensity for zany showmanship is evident in his many
theatrical costume designs. "Duckie", made of cotton and tulle, was created for
a production of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf that was held in Central Park in 2013.
Acording to Mizrahi, Duckie is "an NPR-listening, PBS-watching,
school-teachery kind of duck."

To see a video of the designer in action as a director, link here.

  °     °     °    °     °     °     °     °
Above: Mizrahi costumes for Beaux, choreographed by Mark Morris, 
San Francisco Ballet, 2012. 

Right: Blackbird w/Star of David belt 
Ostrich-feather hood, stretch wool jersey bodysuit
and pants, suede and brass belt, 
from fall 1991 collection.
“If crosses are everywhere, why not make the Star of David ubiquitous too? Just another thing?”

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The Jewish Museum's retrospective encompasses three decades of Mizrahi's work. It runs through August 7, 2016. 

Originally posted 4/22/16


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