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Isaac Mizrahi is a design machine. He’s just added Canadian chain Fairweather and sister store Les Aisles de la Mode in Quebec to his resumé, which already includes a womenswear line for bargain-basement U.S. chain Target, a couture collection for Bergdorf Goodman and a men’s collection for both Bergdorf and Fairweather due out this fall.
He was sold after flying to Toronto and anonymously visiting the Yorkdale store. “I was so impressed by the shop-in-shop concept, by how much they seemed to want to invest in it,” he says.
While he’s known for his energy and ebullience, there’s only so much he can do with his concepts. “I get into a mood,” he says. “I was obsessed by florals this spring. I started for Target. By the time I reached the Fairweather collection I was right into it.” With watercolour prints, 18th-century Rococo florals, photo-realistic flowers and foulards, it has more blooms than a garden.
Now that he doesn’t have to create bold new collections to please fashion critics every season, he feels free to recycle from his former ready-to-wear label. “There are certain cuts of things I’ve made that I think are just so classic that everyone needs that,” he says.
One woman in New York was wearing a smocked shirt from his recent Fairweather collection. “I went, ‘Oh my God, that’s my shirt.’ I was so excited,” he says. “I recognized it just from the cut. It was the 1997 resort collection.”
This fall his foliage obsession continues with shades of orange and rust, and with leaves. “I know it sounds so stupid that you want to scream. But what I’m going to do with it is completely different and modern. I found really beautiful tweeds.”
From 1988 to 1998, the three-time CFDA Designer of the Year award-winner created dresses that cost $20,000, not $80. He was known for his high fashion, not accessible fashion. Now he says he believes in lower-priced lines.
“I think there’s room in the world for these products that are so cute, so well executed and so well art directed. Don’t be surprised if I bring that to the U.S. in freestanding stores.”
Despite fondling Scarlett Johansson’s breasts and trying to sneak a peek down Teri Hatcher’s dress at the Golden Globes this year, Mizrahi doesn’t plan to branch into ladies’ lingerie anytime soon. His manic schedule already includes a total of four men’s and womenswear collections, accessories, home furnishings for Target and Fairweather’s sister chains Benix & Co. and Barnes and Castle (due out this fall), a TV show and Broadway productions. “This is one time in my life when I’m not bored.”
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