By  on August 3, 2005

NEW YORK — Isaac Mizrahi straddles the worlds of mass and class, selling off-the-rack fashions at Target and made-to-order at Bergdorf Goodman.

For his next project, however, the designer wanted to hit a spot somewhere in the middle, and so the idea of what he calls "semi-couture" was born. The collection of 10 pieces will launch exclusively at Bergdorf’s in two weeks.

Unlike the custom collection Mizrahi launched at the specialty store last year, semi-couture features off-the-rack pieces in four sizes and wide, basted seams that will be finished for customers in just one sitting with a store seamstress.

"Semi-couture is the perfect thing," Mizrahi said. "You can go in and change a little something, and have it made to your body without having to wait for six weeks. It’s like instant gratification for the couture customer."

Robert Burke, Bergdorf’s senior vice president of the fashion office, said the store has been successful with the made-to-order collection. "There is a consumer who wants one of a kind, but that same consumer also wants more immediate gratification," Burke said.

The semi-couture collection revolves around a double-faced wool denim and a gold brocade fabric sourced at Gandini in Italy.

Each piece is lined with a silk organza, and couture details include hand-stitching, crinoline and mesh underlays. Pieces include a gold brocade frock coat, a brocade cropped jacket, a brocade balcony dress, fine cashmere sweaters, a double-faced wool denim jacket and a pencil skirt.

Mizrahi president Jayne Harkness said the plan is to keep the venture exclusive. That said, at retail prices from $2,800 to $6,800, semi-couture is more democratic than the made-to-order pieces, which retail between $6,400 and $30,000.

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