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NEW YORK — Peripatetic at best, Isaac Mizrahi isn’t about to rest.
Ricocheting around his showroom during a photo shoot of his new shearling-based fur collection last week, the designer tried to stay on topic but couldn’t resist revealing some other pursuits. For starters, this month his home collection bows at Target, the design-conscious chain store that has illuminated his high-low personality.
With aspirations of making a film at some point, Mizrahi has written his first “Webisodes,” online video streams that tell a story and will premiere on Target’s Web site later this month. One of them, “Supermodel Hero,” stars YaYa DaCosta, the runner-up in Tyra Banks’ much-hyped reality show, “America’s Next Top Model.”
Short on specifics about the show he aims to develop, he was more clear cut about his upcoming collaboration with his friend Mark Morris. Mizrahi is pulling together costumes for the director-choreographer’s “King Arthur,” which will be staged by the English National Orchestra in London next year. Like their previous collaborations, the finished product is certain to be imaginative.
Mizrahi met Morris through Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour about 20 years ago, and the men teamed up for the New York City Opera’s production of Rameau’s “Platée,” a comic opera-ballet about vanity. Morris did away with its 18th-century settings, preferring to draw inspiration from a Lower East Side bar. Adrian Lobel, who is working with Morris and Mizrahi on “King Arthur,” whipped up a terrarium complete with a pond. The trio aims to give fresh outlooks to old works.
While the three-time CFDA award winner enjoys nothing more than a creative challenge, he seems right at home at Target. Asked if he will get very rich from the endeavor, Mizrahi said, “Hopefully, someday, but by my standards, I’m still like a hooker living hand-to-mouth.”
Disappointed that he used Christian Louboutin shoes instead of his Target ones for the fur photo shoot, he said, “They’re so damn cute. I don’t want to admit.” Then he promptly asked an assistant to dig out a pair of his $30 pink pumps for Target to show.
This story first appeared in the March 1, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Admitting that it is shocking to look at the sales reports from Target, he said, “The clothes are doing great, but the shoes and bags — that’s what’s going to get me rich.”
As for his competitor H&M, Mizrahi said, “Ecologically, no one needs fast fashion like that.”
All in all, he said he prefers the setup with Target to the way his business used to be. “Unless I can perch above something, I’m not good at it.”
On Monday, he lent his designer expertise to Oprah Winfrey for her post-Oscars roundup. How that cameo could help ring up sales at Target was something he declined to address. But the business-minded showman is well aware of the benefits reaped by authors featured on the previous version of Oprah’s Book Club.
He is not leaving everything to the hands of chance. Asked about the diamond ring worn on a middle finger, Mizrahi explained, “A psychic told me I should wear more diamonds,” and then lifted his pant leg to show off a diamond ankle bracelet. That costly superstition is proving to be helpful, he said. “My life has improved 30 percent.”
And he wasn’t kidding.