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A Look at Isaac’s Liz

Mizrahi debuts Claiborne collection.

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EXCLUSIVE: Isaac Mizrahi is putting his oh-so-Isaac stamp on his debut collection for Liz Claiborne, turning out fun, fashionable looks with a sporty attitude and plenty of vibrant color. Sketches of the collection were obtained by WWD.

NEW YORK —
Isaac Mizrahi’s debut collection for Liz Claiborne has been a closely guarded secret given the designer’s non-compete agreement with Target Corp., which expires at the end of the year.

This story first appeared in the September 3, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The consensus of the first effort? Fresh and smart, with all of Mizrahi’s signatures but more tempered than he’s sometimes been in the past.

There are crisp pantsuits, cheerful colors and the kind of strong design hand Claiborne hasn’t seen in years — from the floral lining on a trenchcoat that coordinates with leggings to the handbags, jewels and shoes. As for prices, sources said they remain the same as always, averaging $30 for a T-shirt and up to $250 for outerwear. The line hits store floors in January.

Clearly Claiborne has a lot riding on Mizrahi, given the core brand accounts for almost 25 percent of the parent company’s volume. At the time of Mizrahi’s appointment at Liz in January, Liz Claiborne Inc. chief executive William L. McComb said enthusiastically, “This is the long-awaited differentiation that Macy’s has been asking for. This is the vital answer to the differentiation.”

Let’s see what the retailers say. They’ll begin seeing the collection today. Meanwhile, Mizrahi is pressing ahead with his own line, with a full-scale show set for the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday including, sources said, specially commissioned music. Isaac Suite, No. 1?

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