Byline: Merle Ginsberg
NEW YORK — Everybody knows Isaac Mizrahi’s going Hollywood, but this year he just might get an Oscar. Or at least his dress might.
Wendy Finerman, producer of “Forrest Gump,” ordered up a special Isaac creation for what could be her special night, and recently popped into Isaac’s Wooster Street loft — the SoHo equivalent of an atelier — for her final fitting before next Monday’s debut.
When Finerman — also exec producer of “I Like It Like That” and the wife of Columbia/Tri-Star chairman Mark Canton — steps out in her strapless black ballgown with a bodice of peau de soie and a full skirt of peony lace, there are plenty of ooohs and ahhhs, especially from pal Rita Wilson, who came along for the limo ride and a little shopping of her own. Wilson, of course, is married to Tom Hanks, who could be in line for an Oscar of his own for “Gump.”
“Wendy, it is so stunning, so gorgeous!” Wilson coos. “You look like Elizabeth Taylor in ‘A Place in the Sun.’ “
“She’s got a great back for strapless,” Isaac adds. “And the dress has what I call a ‘whoopie strap’ under it — to hold the bodice down. It’s structured so you don’t see through the dress even with a thousand klieg lights on you. So all you need are sheer black hose.”
“I feel like Barbie,” sighs Finerman, a mother of three. “But what should I do with my hair?”
“Just throw it up!” Isaac suggests.
“Like Michelle Pfeiffer?” Finerman asks. “That’s what Michelle Pfeiffer would do. I’m not Michelle Pfeiffer.”
“Fine!” agrees Isaac. “Then don’t do it. Hair down, simple. It shouldn’t look coiffed. And no gloves. And earrings or a necklace, but not both. Now what about pouffing it out at the hips a little more?” he says, grabbing some pins.
“Will it accentuate my hips?” Finerman moans.
“What hips?” asks Isaac. “You go running four miles a day! Just think how photographed this dress will be when you win!”
Finerman isn’t thinking about winning the Oscar at the moment. She’s thinking about her husband, her three kids, her next several projects that all need attending to, the whirlwind of events she has to attend in the next week and the wardrobe she’ll need for all of it.
“I came to Isaac right away when it seemed we were going to be getting a lot of attention,” she explains. “I love clothes, but I like to look kind of classic. I’m actually very practical when it comes to clothes. I don’t need to have a ton of clothes. I don’t go out that much, normally. We have a screening room and have people over. I could live in gray sweats. But I’ve noticed this year that people in L.A. have become conscious of fashion for the first time, the way New York is. I’m seeing less sneakers and more loafers and Clergerie shoes. But I’m so busy — I like this idea of one-stop shopping.”
Finerman says she’s not spoiled by having just had a pretty amazing year.
“I’m just the luckiest girl in the world, and I’m constantly aware of that,” she says, as she packs up her purchases for the trip back to L.A. She’s also taking a periwinkle tulip dress from the spring ’95 line. “I have a very supportive husband,” she says. “I have three great kids. They’re normal. I got to make a movie like this at the beginning of my career. If it had only made a hundred million, I would have been thrilled. [It’s made over $300 million in the U.S. alone.] Now I can make edgy, interesting, relevant movies and have access to work with great people. I’m working on a project right now about a crazed sports fan. People keep asking me how I can top ‘Forrest Gump.’ I think the way to deal with that is, don’t try — just go for the projects that you love. Luckily, I’ve got a few now.
“And Isaac,” she winks, “is the icing on the cake.”