Monday, September 21, 2009

Seven Minutes of Joy

I am delighted by Isaac Mizrahi.

Not just for this collection, but ongoingly. Overjoyed and delighted. I really do feel like Isaac is a guy after my own heart and that if we ever met we'd be "crazy besties" (which is gawdawful fashion mag-speak for best friends) and not for nothin' but redhead here would be more than happy to function as muse and walking billboard for a guy I think is one of the most consistently fabulous designers working.

I love Isaac Mizrahi because he loves a lot of the things I love. He likes day wear that is easily turned into evening, or at least cocktail, wear. He loves color -- uses tons of it. He has a sense of humor and it shows in his clothes. He is ironic about himself, but not about his customers, which means that season after season he creates clothing because he wants to please people. Not to astound or puzzle or challenge them -- he wants women to put on his clothes and feel beautiful & happy. "I still believe," Mizrahi said, "that fashion has to be gorgeous and colorful and fun." Good googly-moogly, we could use a few more like him.

This collection was inspired by Fred Astaire, an icon long worshiped for his effortless male chic (would that be chic-ismo?). Astaire famously used ascots and neckties as belts, and this ribbon on the waist of these fantastic loose trousers pays homage to that. The women-are-sexy-in-menswear thing is a bit of an overused trope in fashion, but clichés are clichés because they are true, and the power and confidence a woman gets from a perfectly fitted pair of trousers can't help but translate into sex appeal.

Such a great jacket, with that big flounce detail. I wish I could find some detail shots from this show, but no one seems to have any. (This really grates my cheese. will show me 9000 obsessive photos of Alexander Wang's dumb tightey-whitey-inspired whatever-they-ares, but they can't be bothered to show me the seaming on this jacket? Ppppflflflflflflffltttttt to them, is what I say.)

(Also, while I'm on the subject of, a website, mind you, on which I rely very heavily, can I just whinge for a moment about the unrequested video ads that keep popping up? It is the MOST annoying thing to be trying to look at photos and have your screen be unceremoniously hijacked by a video Ralph Lauren ad. If I want to look at the ad, I'll click on it, thankyouverymuch.)

No detail shots means I can't quite make out what kind of fabric this adorable, perfect sheath dress is made from. It has texture, which I love and which keeps it from being too basic to be interesting.

That's a Twenty Year Dress, that is. You could wear that forever.

Just the other day I was saying how difficult it is to do underwear as outerwear and do it well, but here's a great example of it.

What a great bustier. Sexy without being tarty. And I don't have to tell you how much I love that skirt, do I?

Jumpsuits are tricky. This one is wonderful.

This collection seemed very much about paying tribute to different golden eras of Hollywood. Usually when some mind-numbing cable television personality stands in front of a camera on the red carpet and drones on about "old Hollywood glamor," you can expect to see a starlet in a bias-cut charmeuse gown. But there were other moments of great Hollywood fashion besides Jean Harlow, and I adore this 20's-inflected dress. It plays with the "flapper" idea without being too literal. And oh, my goodness, I would rock that dress, ifIdosaysomyself.

This is too desperately short for real life, but I forgive it because of the movement and shimmer and sparkle that is somehow more bouncy and fun than the usual heavy-duty glitz of a sequined dress. Compare this to one of the crystallized suits of armor that have been coming out of Balmain lately:

How could anything so sparkly be so glum? That dress doesn't look fun, that dress looks like a chore.

This, however?

Not a chore. And yet another dress I would rock. Poor Isaac, designing all these clothes for a muse he's never met...

Here's that flapper silhouette again. Note the pink tulle peeking out at the hem. Does that not make you squee a little bit? It does, admit it.

This dress? Floats. It floats, like a flower on the breeze. Stunning. One of my favorite things about Mizrahi is how much he can do with a very simple shape. So flattering -- and would that not be a spectacular wedding dress?

This is less simple, but still a long way from being overdone. The starkness of that chalk-white, perfectly plain bustier against that shreddy tulle skirt is enough to give yours truly the vapors. What a beautiful, beautiful gown.

I've saved my favorite for last.


This was a jaw-dropper for me. I gasped so loud I startled the cat. I haven't seen very many things that I think are more perfectly me than this outfit. As I just said, I am a sucker for the strict tailoring paired with the over-the-top flou, and we all know how much I love tulle. I took one look at that and decided I had to have it. Unortunately, my checkbook does not agree with my racing fashionista heart, so I'm going to DIY it. I've already gotten started -- I bought a knit tube skirt from American Apparel (longer than this one, FYI) to use as a base, and I've found the perfect ballet pink fine-gauge tulle. There will be much draping and pinning (and consternation, probably) before it's all done, but I think I can pull it off. I have a couple of good alternative for the jacket, and I just get all kiiiiinds of happy imagining the various shoe alternatives I could work with this outfit. (Complete Fashionista Accessories Geek-Out, coming up!) I'll keep you posted & let you see it when it's done, don't worry. If I pull it off, you must all promise to invite me to every party and/or formal function you attend for the next six months, so I have somewhere to wear it. Deal?

Cathy Horyn, on her blog, mentions "that sublime quality of feeling that Mr. Mizrahi manages to inject in his fashion shows" and (as usual) I wholeheartedly agree with her. Besides the exuberance and wit in his clothes, there is also a quality of generosity and almost a tenderness about them, as if they were all made as a gift for someone he loved very much.

I'm going to do something unusual and post a video of the whole show here. Watch it. It's about seven minutes long, and it's seven minutes of joy. Not a bad way to start your Monday.


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Deja Pseu said...

The thing I sense about Issac M. is that his designs are more about the women who would wear them than about his own ego. I'm not saying he doesn't have a big ego...they all do and probably need one to succeed in this business. But he really seems to *like* women, and want them to feel good in what they're wearing. Great selections, Style Spy!

Miranda said...

This is the best show I've seen so far. The rest have been boring or flat-out too ridiculous in a tacky, self-satisfied way (especially Marc by Marc Jacobs). Mizrahi is so great. My heart, she swoons.

Belle de Ville said...

I love Mizrahi too, but I was perplexed last year when he sent the handbag hats out onto the runway.
What I like about this collection, and you called it, the twenty year dresses. There is nothing like finding a timeless classic that you can wear for 20 years.
Oh, and while you were loving the tulle, I was frothing over the shoes.

materfamilias said...

I don't comment often, but I check out all of your posts and love 'em. Had to comment today, though, 'cause I'm just so pleased to see someone use the word "consternation" -- chatting with colleagues recently about how this one seems to be slipping away from us, yet how perfect it is for a certain furrowing of the brow, different from "concern," different from "confusion." (I'm an English prof; talking about such silliness is an occupational hazard). I already thought your writing's great, but extra appreciation for the "consternation"! ;-)
(and I do hope that doesn't make me sound stuffier than I am)

dana said...

But I want a little suitcase handbag!!! However, they can keep the orange lipstick.

StyleSpy said...

Deja -- agreed. He seems to feel very warmly about women in general, and it shows.

Miranda -- I'm with you on the swooning.

Belle -- Oh, honey, I know it. Those were some excellent shoes.

Mater -- Thank you! I'm a bit of a word geek myself -- the English language was my first love. I shall make every endeavor to remain polysyllabic!