NEW YORK — In the midst of discussing his upcoming daily talk show, his latest psychic reading, his dream of directing a musical and a range of other topics, Isaac Mizrahi had some pointed advice for budding designers — know how to make your own pieces.

“That’s good advice, know how to do things,” said Mizrahi, who fielded questions for 30 minutes at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in Manhattan recently as part of the first annual Fashion District Arts Festival.

“I know how to make things,” said Mizrahi, who went on to say that designers without that ability will find themselves at a disadvantage. “I’m very confident about my ability to make things, that’s for sure.”

Upon taking the microphone, Mizrahi opted to change the format to an open question-and-answer session, dispensing with what originally had been billed as a panel discussion on his “creative process and the intersection of the arts in the fashion world.” The hopscotching of topics seemed fitting for a designer whose work runs the gamut from costume design to clothing at Bergdorf Goodman and Target.

Mizrahi is gearing up for a new daily hour-long talk show that will be airing on the Style network in coming months. In preparation, he’s moved his offices into a new space on 10th Avenue that is equal parts design and television studio. Only a glass wall divides the TV studio from the design area.

“If it doesn’t rate, well, at least everyone will copy the set,” quipped Mizrahi, who said the show will have a live audience.

On the topic of celebrity designers, Mizrahi shrugged: “Some celebrities are very good designers.” For instance, Mizrahi said he had just seen something from Gwen Stefani that he liked. He wouldn’t wear it, but he liked it.

Mizrahi insisted his approach with his products for Target is the same as that with his collection for Bergdorf. He also believes consumers are willing to accept both.

“I don’t really believe rich people won’t tolerate inexpensive clothes,” Mizrahi said. “People think I have huge staffs of people that design for Target and I do. But I am so involved with every step, you have no idea.”

This story first appeared in the October 26, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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