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Six months after Xcel Brands Inc. acquired Isaac Mizrahi’s designer apparel business for $31.5 million, the designer has secured new deals for outerwear and wedding gowns.
Neither category is new for Mizrahi, who has included coats in his sportswear collections throughout his 31 years in business. He first dabbled in bridal in the Eighties by designing couture gowns for such clients as Melissa Huffine, who married Nuno Brandolini. “It was so exciting and memorable. It was this big wedding in Southampton,” Mizrahi said. “I designed her dress and some of the little kids’ clothes. It looked like a [John Singer] Sargent painting.”
This fall the designer will also debut collections for accessories, denim, home, infantwear, housewares, tabletop and kitchen. Xcel Brands has signed a license to sell the Isaac Mizrahi New York bridal line exclusively at Kleinfeld. Mizrahi will unveil his new wedding gowns at a noontime runway show at Kleinfeld on April 18, and the collection will be available at the West 20th Street store the following day.
The designer and the store’s co-owner Mara Urshel go back to her buyer days at Saks Fifth Avenue, where she championed Mizrahi early on in his career. Together, they have developed an 18-piece collection of ballgowns, sheaths and hourglass silhouettes that will retail from $2,500 to $6,000 at the 35,000-square-foot flagship, which caters to 17,000 brides each year. Mizrahi is particularly excited about the fragile gingham he developed that appears to be a sheer overlay. “There is something wonderfully American classic and chic about it,” he said.
Last spring Mizrahi teamed up with the members’ only e-commerce site The Aisle New York to develop a customized collection. That collaboration ended in October, he said. The designer first made a splash in bridal by whipping up affordable wedding gowns for Target, an arrangement that ended more than four years ago. As for his newest deal, he said, “Kleinfeld and I understand that no one is more special or exciting than the bride. We treat her like royalty — we do not skimp on anything.”
For outerwear, Xcel Brands signed a licensing deal with Fleet Street to develop women’s and children’s outerwear carrying the Isaac Mizrahi New York label. “From the very beginning, I have had a good coat business,” said Mizrahi, adding that he had a licensing deal with Fairbrooke in the Nineties.
Parkas and peacoats are among the new offerings, but his personal favorites are the simple, chic styles such as a double-breasted coat with a large lapel. The 25-piece line will retail from $120 to $250.
With the outerwear and bridal good to go, Mizrahi is gearing up for all the other launches this fall. As for why he is adding so much at once, Mizrahi said, “There is a synergy to all of this. There is a model I’m following that so many of my peers and predecessors have used. Promotion breeds promotion. Plus, I have always been a lifestyle kind of guy.”