First loves often bud in late high school, or if you were prudent like me, in sophomore year of college. Few loves such as these blossom into something substantial, but this love, the love I have for Isaac continued to grow and has remained deeply rooted and fresh. I must confess that by the look of me en route to the 7-11 on any given Saturday morning no one would ever know that I am a fashionoholic. I groove off the fabric, texture, color, silhouette...the art, concepts and the fantasy. Perhaps its shallow, but it's a means to self-medicating. A great substitute for coffee. Easier to down than tequila. Give me a stack of mags or an hour of fashion TV and I am quite at peace with the world. And then there's Isaac, who always puts me in that happy place.
I bumped into Isaac one Friday night somewhere between wanting to be out with my besties and maximizing my kid-free zone time (daughter was in bed) logging in hours on my laptop. He was on a random cable shopping network that shall remain nameless (partly out of embarrassment that I know it's name and another part out of political protest) and I was sipping wine and pretending I was being a social butterfly. Isaac had aged of course, and still looked fabulous. His pieces were watered down for middle America, almost in the way bootleg is a loose translation of bell-bottoms.
I first noticed Isaac in Bergdorf Goodman during my undergrad days at Sarah Lawrence. Blame it on the Seven Sister School atmosphere or black and white photos of alum in ladylike poses reading Hemingway that hung in the school's tudor-style buildings. Or perhaps it was my closet ballerina ambitions (100% in my own head) that drew me to Isaac. Regardless, I was entranced. We crossed paths again in Bloomingdales (a less intimidating shopping environment). Natalie Portman (still a sweet teen eating cheeseless pizza on Long Island) was his muse and model. It was at that moment that I really got him. Isaac's designs were and still are divine - colorful, crisp, easy to wear, playful and feminine. But Isaac's mind...uhh, his mind. His amazingly wild references. There were no borders guarding the areas that served as inspiration. And the points where those ideas and visions intersected were glorious. Eartha Kitt meets Mary Tyler Moore. Nanook of the North meets sequined mini dresses. Mix-matched dinner plates equals color blocked patterns, An afternoon in the garden yields spring coats with insect patterns (never anything as trite as flowers). Unpredictable, smart, observant and fun.
These days I often check out his old webisodes and radio show for an idea and giggle. Still as much as we shared, it took me a good decade plus to know him intimately. I couldn't afford his frocks. When I finally slipped into my very own Isaac Mizrahi ensemble, let's just say... it was totally worth it:) And by the way, it still hangs in my closet. And when I wear it, I smile, like a woman in love.