Exhibition View of Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History at +The Jewish Museum
This was written a while back--figured I should post before it becomes obsolete! A purposefully positioned androgynous assemblage showcases 'style' that transcends cultures and circumstances.The faceless femmes, arranged in artistic angles, feature fashions past and present. As colorful as his clothing, the career of designer, entrpreneur, actor, writer, illustrator and TV personality Isaac Mizrahi spans three decades, culminating in a first time exploratory exhibit at the Jewish Museum. Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History showcases the turbulence behind the talent and the span of influence. Keep reading for a look inside...
2nd Floor Gallery Entryway
Born in 1961 Brooklyn, art school, along with a fashion-forward family, serve as Mizrahi's springboard toward a career in clothing creation. Mizrahi's ability to appeal to both couture and commercialism characterize his "unruly"-ness. In his words, "The word 'unruly' speaks more to who I am rather than to what my clothes are. My clothes are sophisticated and subtle and funny. They are 'ruly,' but I am unruly and my history is slightly unruly. I take clothes seriously. I take women seriously, I take feminism seriously, but I don't really take fashion seriously. Maybe that's why I am good at it. I don't play by those rules. I'm Un-rule-y."
Left Room installation view
Beyond introductory walls laden with sketches and swatches, Mizrahi's clothing reflects both style and culture, with a multidirectional twist. He notes, "When I was growing up, the idea of being truly stylish was more akin to scavenging, reinventing, than it was to luxury and spending loads of money." The Coca Cola can dress, made of up paillettes cut from cans gathered by ex-convicts and homeless and Mizrahi's 2009 handbag hat are evidence of his ability to upcycle and upscale everyday items. Notorious for mixing high and low--Mizrahi's mass produced sweater is paired with a $7,000 pair of beaded pants. Each piece on display has a unique story. For starters, the 1991 Desert Storm dress imitates the camouflage found on US Army uniforms at the start of the Persian Gulf war. The 1992 Tulip dress and Poppy dress are both inspired by Irving Penn's flower photographs.
In a passageway to the back room, Nick Waplington's 1990s photographs feature a young Mizrahi preparing for various runway shows. Select accessories and a video installation highlight bits and clips from Mizrahi's shows, Project Runway, Isaac Mizrahi Live!, Les MIZrahi, and other cameos and projects. The span and scope of Mizrahi's tranches--as designer, director and artist are evident in the artifacts presented. Additionally, five coats created for QVC are revealed at the exhibit opening. Stop by the final weeks to view the exhibit through August 7th.
Mizrahi, past and present...
exploded tulip (Spring 1992) [M] and exploded poppy (Spring 1992) [R], inspired by Irving Penn
platée + two frog attendants; hand painted lycra spandex bodysuits for the Royal Opera, Edinburgh Festival Theater (1997)
So many sketches (1980-2009)!!
Photos by Nick Waplington (1989 - 93)
a young Mizrahi and the blossom blazer
extreme kilt (Fall 1989) [L], tee pee shearling (Fall 1991) [M], elevator pad gown (Spring 2005) [R]
totem pole dress (1991) [L], minky (1997) [R]
colorfield green canvas coat [L], together but separates [M]; wool batwing jacket + striped cashmere jersey tunic + leather tote hat (Fall 2009)
blackbird (Fall 1991) [M]: Star of David suede + brass belt + ostrich-feather hood + stretch wool jersey bodysuit
the real thing Coca Cola can paillette dress (1994)
Couture coats for QVC (2016)