With his ever-expanding Target presence and his custom collection for Bergdorf Goodman, Isaac Mizrahi is New York’s most high-profile poster boy for fashion’s egalitarian high-low fascination. But this week, the proletariat will have to wait, as on Tuesday, Mizrahi welcomed editors for a look at his offerings for Bergdorf. On Wednesday, he visited the store for the start of a two-day trunk show, ending today.
“I put ‘2005 Part 1’ on the invitation because there are no seasons to these clothes,” Mizrahi noted to some of the editors. “They’re custom, so they’ll never be marked down.” And certainly, at a span of between $6,400 and $30,000 or so, a woman is unlikely to view a purchase as a one-season wonder.
But then, given those prices, one might indeed be surprised at Mizrahi’s range of looks. One would expect, for example, that bridal and major-occasion clothes are a major focus. But the range was stunning, from an elaborately appliquéd white party frock suitable for ingenue, bride and even the firm-armed matron, to razzle-dazzle fare seemingly suitable to the hot-time-in-Vegas set. In addition, there were tulle baby-doll dresses, a flamboyant silver fox coat inset with major plastic and an interesting blackwatch gown, its pattern formed by multiple layers of see-through tulle, each printed with a different stripe.
The collection featured simpler day clothes as well. And fall will mark the introduction of “demi couture” to the store. According to Mizrahi president Jane Harkness, this will consist of two dresses shipped in several sizes with wide, basted seams to be adjusted and finished for the customer. Asked who that customer is, Mizrahi replied, “People. Rich people.”
On Wednesday, 100 such ladies including Blaine Trump, Bebe Neuwirth, Cornelia Guest, Carrie Modine and Kathy Hilton made their way to the fourth floor of Bergdorf’s for the in-store event. “I have had many trunk shows in my career,” Mizrahi said. “This feels more like a personal appearance. I like it better than typical trunk shows. You make friends.”
“I love the doll dress,” cooed Hilton. “It would be perfect for Paris.”
Several pieces had already been sold by the afternoon, including two double-faced wool shift dresses with inverted front pleats for $13,000 each; one floral hand-finished lace dress with black rosettes and a hand-embroidered dotted petticoat for $16,000; two bouclé jackets, $9,600 each; two silk jabot blouses, $6,600 each, and two high-waisted pants with a built-in corset feature, $6,400 each.
Alberta Purpora from Connecticut couldn’t contain her enthusiasm at meeting Mizrahi. “I love your designs. They’re fabulous,” she said, as her 20-year-old daughter, Daniele Capece, tried on clothes. When she emerged from the dressing room in an allover sequin-and-crystal minidress fit for an Ice Capades solo, the whole room erupted into an impromptu round of applause. “It’s fabulous, that’s the only operative word, fabulous,” barked mother Purpora. “You look like Sarah Jessica Parker.”