Last night, on the fourth floor of Bergdorf Goodman, the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi was holding court in the middle of a small, packed room of guests, who seemed to rotate around him with the slow, awe-struck deference of pilgrims circling the Kaaba during Hajj. Appearances aside, the 46-year-old designer widely known as the subject of the mid-90’s documentary Unzipped, whose couture fall 2008 collection shows today, was not the guest of honor at the fête—that role, at least officially, went to preeminent fashion illustrator Kenneth Paul Block. But, as Mr. Mizrahi was quick to remind us, he, too, can draw.
“I think I sketch more than other designers. I sketch and sketch and sketch!” he said.
While sufficiently sociable, Mr. Mizrahi—who was wearing his signature worn, paisley bandana—was apparently also in the mood for sass.
“It’s a very slouchy thing!” he said of his new collection, waving his horizontal finger nails back and forth inches away from the Daily Transom’s corneas. “It’s like a strapless dress with like a librarian cardigan over it! It’s very good. You’ll see, you’ll see!
“It’s like opposites that work in taupe. It’s very taupe-y and very gray. It’s very nice. You’ll see, you’ll see.”
He then took a break, spinning around to show us his back and continental-kiss a rotund, ruddy gentleman who had finally made his way to the designer. “Excuse me, your scarf is gay!” Mr. Mizrahi screamed at the man, who giggled and blushed at the apparent flattery.
He spun back around and—peek-a-boo!—we were still there. So, back to the collection … any eggplant hues to compliment those grays and taupes?
“Eggplant—yeah! How did you know! What, is eggplant a big thing this year?” he asked, cracking himself up and looking around at no one in particular. Mr. Mizrahi said he couldn’t talk about his flight last month from Target into the (arguably) sagging arms of Liz Claiborne, where he will become the new creative director of women’s fashion. But he would discuss New York fashion week and what, in his view, sets it apart from fashion weeks held in other cities like, say, Milan and Paris.
“It’s before, which is interesting,” he deadpanned, before turning away to plant a peck on a slight, elderly woman’s cheek. “I don’t see much of New York before my own collection, so maybe you should call me on Saturday and I’ll tell you. I don’t go to collections. I don’t know why people think I go to collections. I go to my own collections, you see.” Asked whether people often—and mistakenly—assume that he attends fashion shows, Mr. Mizrahi opened his eyes wide.
“Yes, they do, which is a strange thing. I don’t buy fashion, I make fashion!”