An Open Letter to Mr. Mizrahi


Isaac's Style Book

Dear Isaac,

May I call you Isaac? (We did meet once … and I still have that coat, if you still want to borrow it.)

I was thrilled when your editor, Erika, asked if I wanted to see a copy of your new magazine, Isaac's Style Book. Did I want to SEE it? Darn tootin'! I was even thrilled-er (don't worry, I can use words like that, I'm a professional) when I got it. In fact, I am having a hard time deciding what feature I liked best. Was it the "Hairography", where Linda Dresner deconstructed all of her previous hairstyles? Was it the essay where David Rakoff constructs (by hand, no less) a reasonable facsimile of a pair of Levis 501s? Or was it the pages of "swatches" of different pinks (everything from Mary Kay & her Cadillac to a Maira Kalman illustration)?

The "closet case" in which a woman (who was neither a socialite nor being urged to lose weight by a team of experts, thank god) got help finding just a couple of items (not an entirely new wardrobe, which, for anyone over the age of 18, is more like brainwashing than style help) is really excellent, with great photos. The "revamp" instructions are pretty decent, too (I have an issue with wardrobe-revamp instructions that encourage me to take one garment I don't like and make another one I wouldn't wear out of it: Flashdance-style t-shirts, anyone?). The atelier shots were gorgeous, too, but the literalist in me would have liked some captions. Who were all those people, and did the garments shown make it to production?

I'm also pleased that you'll be posting updates every week on your Notes page. And, that even though the magazine has limited distribution for now, people can get their own copies (for the price of mailing) here.

Erika tells me the next issue will be out in March/April. I'm looking forward to it!

Yours in the struggle,

Erin

0 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Mr. Mizrahi

  1. Andrea, but … but … I love my tights! Perhaps it is the scourge of leggings, yes? Leggings are useful over tights, and completely hidden by skirts, when the winter winds start howling. Or, conversely, in the summer, to keep one’s legs from chafing at the thigh, but otherwise, completely hidden by the the skirt. The keywords here are, “completely hidden.”I love what I see in that tiny slice of photograph: love the fitted bodice, love the full skirt with the smooth gored top, love the pocket, love the three-quarter sleeve with the ginormous bow, love the supple rich orange (not a colour that looks great on me, but it doesn’t keep me from loving it), love the fact that someone cared enough to press it.I love it enough that I’m ordering Isaac’s magazinebook in the hope of seeing the entire garment.(Sometimes it can work though, Erin; sometimes an unsuccessful dress can become a functional skirt, or a functional top. But then, you’d have had to like the original for it to be in your closet in the first place.)

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  2. I’m going with the sleeve here. Marie Antoinette meets orange crush(tm). Except for the fact that I have arms like a T Rex, I think this is an amazing detail for a lovely dress.And double bless Isaac for the shout-out on tights. Leggings are horrid. Period. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. I just discovered a great source for tights of all kinds, sizes and lengths, including lovely, sheer-y wool ones in terrific colors, is mytights.com.

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  3. Bravo for Isaac!Keep it real and honest, every designer should do so well to remember that. I love his solid style and attitude.Someday I would love hire a professional photographer to follow me around for day. Honey are you reading this… birthday? anniversary?~Becky

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  4. htwollin,You had me at the home page! That site rocks. Off to shop in tights heaven!And Isaac, yet another reason to love you. I hope Harry makes an occasional appearance in the mag.

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  5. Damn you woman. Thanks to you I now have an addiction to sewing patterns from the 50s and have ordered Isaac’s magazine. It was the orange dress with the el-bow (heh) that did it. Also the swatch page of pink.

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  6. I’ve always adored Isaac’s approach to fashion. The fashion makeovers look like something real people could do and actually wear! Can’t wait for my copy to arrive.

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  7. love…orange…dress…I wonder how I look in that shade of orange. I also wonder if I’m too old to wear bows on my sleeves.And I love that Isaac Mizrahi owns a border collie mix as I have a mix from the Humane Society and a purebred snatched from the jaws of death at the local pound.

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  8. Wow. That view of orange dress took my breath away. Orange dresses and pages of pink? Go Isaac! (I also liked the sweet hairology piece, touching in the vein of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.” It kills me that anyone with naturally curly hair would spend half a lifetime trying to straighten it…)On the subject of leggings (or “footless tights” as they more often seem to be), I don’t understand the vituperousness of people’s objections. On someone youngish and built like Audrey Hepburn I think they look cute and dancerly; other folks aren’t required to wear them (aren’t there always trends that are not suitable for mass consumption?). And I don’t care how thick someone’s ankles are, I can’t see how that’s as offensive to the eye as the recently departed “visible thong/naked pelvic bone” look. Now, should STIRRUP PANTS really catch on again, I’ll join the protest (if I haven’t gotten off my fully-covered butt to protest something vital like, say, the jettisonning of habeus corpus, without which right it don’t matter what you wear because no one will see you, possibly ever again.)Sorry – getting into rant territory. How ’bout that orange dress?

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  9. ah wow. this looks good. It will have to just be the website. $21 postage to Europe!? that’s just mean. How big is this magazine?

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  10. I also meant to mention that I love Roz Chaste but was excited and distracted by the border collie side note. Is that where you met Mr. Mizrahi?

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  11. Isaac needs to ‘splain where the Hell outside the NY/LA fashion districts I am to find a “preppy crest” with genuine gold lace. The ones you can find in Jo-Ann are nasty.

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  12. Jonquil, you may be able to find crest badges/patches at M&J Trim (I can’t access their website at the moment, but I know they have one); you could pick one up at an Army/Navy or other military surplus store; or you could have them custom made, at not-very-high prices, by somebody with an embroidery business. Just have your design made up as a separate patch, rather than embroidered onto a garment. Nora, I won’t speak for anyone else’s objections, but I base mine on the fact that I’ve seen far too many folks wearing underwear-weight leggings as outerwear. I’ve seen semi-sheer, as opposed to opaque, leggings stretched over body parts that rendered them still more sheer, and not in a way that flattered. There are not as many people who look like Audrey Hepburn in leggings as there are people who think they look like Audrey Hepburn in leggings. I happen to own some leggings, myself, but I do not think I look like Audrey Hepburn in them, which is why they’re chosen to coordinate with what I’m wearing. I mean for mine to be seen in peeks – leopard leggings under all black, if the wind catches my skirt, or I’m on a ladder; black lace under a red skirt; small scrolling flowers under a white skirt with lace flounces. It’s just leggings is/are (?) a garment with which it is very, very easy to throw off one’s proportions. Of course, in some parts of the country, including certain neighborhoods even in Big East Coast Cities (like mine), leggings as outerwear never went away. In my neighborhood, unfortunately, they are usually worn by ladies who are built like chickadees, with heavy bodies and birdlike legs, who emphasize that build by wearing baggy oversized T-shirts or sweatshirts with leggings, and anchor the whole look with big puffy white sneakers and white socks (although this year, some branched out into flip-flops). The hairstyle favored with this look is usually a badly bleached greying blonde ponytail, pulled back with a scrunchie. On the other hand, for all that they’re ridiculed, I happily scoop up as many of the jettisoned well-crafted (that’s important) 80’s jackets as I can find – they’re just the ticket for me, as it happens, with my broad shoulders, big biceps, big bust, narrow waist and big hips. The fact that they went “out of style” didn’t change the way I happen to be built, or the fact that they flatter me in a way that a “boyfriend” jacket never could. So if you are someone who likes them and looks good in them, wear them in blissful serenity, regardless.Stirrup pants, though, are evil, with that nasty bitey band that bites the bottom of one’s feet! Ugh!Robinson, you are never too old to wear bows on your sleeves. (Heh! “El-bow!”)If you want bows on your sleeves (and I know I do), then wear them happily. I bought a nice little 50’s black wool jacket the other week, and darned if it doesn’t finish with a little bow at the waist. Bows are of the good. You know who will tell you you’re “too old” to wear bows on your sleeves? The kind of person who would never wear bows on her sleeves anyway. Wear them and enjoy them.

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  13. Jonquil, you may be able to find crest badges/patches at M&J Trim (I can’t access their website at the moment, but I know they have one); you could pick one up at an Army/Navy or other military surplus store; or you could have them custom made, at not-very-high prices, by somebody with an embroidery business. Just have your design made up as a separate patch, rather than embroidered onto a garment. Nora, I won’t speak for anyone else’s objections, but I base mine on the fact that I’ve seen far too many folks wearing underwear-weight leggings as outerwear. I’ve seen semi-sheer, as opposed to opaque, leggings stretched over body parts that rendered them still more sheer, and not in a way that flattered. There are not as many people who look like Audrey Hepburn in leggings as there are people who think they look like Audrey Hepburn in leggings. I happen to own some leggings, myself, but I do not think I look like Audrey Hepburn in them, which is why they’re chosen to coordinate with what I’m wearing. I mean for mine to be seen in peeks – leopard leggings under all black, if the wind catches my skirt, or I’m on a ladder; black lace under a red skirt; small scrolling flowers under a white skirt with lace flounces. It’s just leggings is/are (?) a garment with which it is very, very easy to throw off one’s proportions. Of course, in some parts of the country, including certain neighborhoods even in Big East Coast Cities (like mine), leggings as outerwear never went away. In my neighborhood, unfortunately, they are usually worn by ladies who are built like chickadees, with heavy bodies and birdlike legs, who emphasize that build by wearing baggy oversized T-shirts or sweatshirts with leggings, and anchor the whole look with big puffy white sneakers and white socks (although this year, some branched out into flip-flops). The hairstyle favored with this look is usually a badly bleached greying blonde ponytail, pulled back with a scrunchie. On the other hand, for all that they’re ridiculed, I happily scoop up as many of the jettisoned well-crafted (that’s important) 80’s jackets as I can find – they’re just the ticket for me, as it happens, with my broad shoulders, big biceps, big bust, narrow waist and big hips. The fact that they went “out of style” didn’t change the way I happen to be built, or the fact that they flatter me in a way that a “boyfriend” jacket never could. So if you are someone who likes them and looks good in them, wear them in blissful serenity, regardless.Stirrup pants, though, are evil, with that nasty bitey band that bites the bottom of one’s feet! Ugh!Robinson, you are never too old to wear bows on your sleeves. (Heh! “El-bow!”)If you want bows on your sleeves (and I know I do), then wear them happily. I bought a nice little 50’s black wool jacket the other week, and darned if it doesn’t finish with a little bow at the waist. Bows are of the good. You know who will tell you you’re “too old” to wear bows on your sleeves? The kind of person who would never wear bows on her sleeves anyway. Wear them and enjoy them.

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  14. “There are not as many people who look like Audrey Hepburn in leggings as there are people who think they look like Audrey Hepburn in leggings.” Ain’t that the sad truth?Even celebrity-sized ladies don’t look their best in leggings, as gofugyourself.com demonstrates on a nearly daily basis. On the other hand, The Sartorialist shows how they can be worn well.

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  15. NO! Stirrup pants? STIRRUP PANTS?![*pant, pant*] Even the thought of stirrup pants coming back into style renders me absolutely panicked. Holy cow, the very definition of “unflattering!” Everyone’s legs look like ice-cream cones in stirrup pants. EVERYONE’S. Stirrup pants are to leggings as double-knit polyester is to fine silk; as Barstow is to San Francisco; as Kid Rock is to Hugh Jackman; as…oh poo, I’ve run out of similes. Similes and smiles, both.(labelladonna, wise as always. The “built like chickadees” is prime.)D’you know, I’ll bet that you could get preppy-crests from a school-uniform-supply place, dontcha think? Check online.And the orange dress: oh, that ANYTHING I made fit so perfectly…

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  16. That dress is absolutely perfect. The color, the style, the pocket the sleeve, the bow. Everything! I love tights, too! Thanks Erin and Isaac!

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  17. Jonquil Ah. All I saw was a little scrinchy picture, and not the bullion. Still, you could: buy a military patch, since they are still made with proper bullion; pay the embroiderer the extra for handwork (hee! hee!); do it yourself (hee! hee! hee!) or you could just buy one from Tinsel Trading, http://www.tinseltrading.com/catalog/cat-appliques-bullion.php – they’re made with proper bullion, and they cost between $4 and $5 each.

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  18. I’m actually thinking of taking a bullion class this year. Next month I *am* taking a tambour embroidery class, so a ’20s floating beaded net dress may yet be in my future!

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  19. Jonquil Hee! All I ask is that you not buy up all of everything before I can squeeze some blood out of my own credit card. I realized it was a risk when I posted the site, but I still wanted to share. Also, if you buy any of their metallic fabric, tell us all about it!Robinson *blush* No guarantees, but I will certainly do my best to help. (And it’s not entirely related to “if I have to sew, so do they!” or vicarious spending, or anything like that.)And in return, I will beg advice from the nice folks here: If any of you have a favorite bug bomb for killing horrible little clothes moths that eat my vintage clothes, not to mention my extremely valuable, extremely susceptible, stash of fabric, I would appreciate your sharing that information with me. I’m past the put-it-in-the-freezer stage, or even take-it-to-the-cleaners stage; I’m looking for weapons of mass destruction. Much appreciated! (I’ve located a couple of useful-seeming websites, but I value hearing from folks who’ve dealt successfully with the problem.)

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  20. Oh, la Bella, I’d like to hear about moth cures too (short of moth BALLS, which even if they weren’t so toxic make clothes unwearably smelly.) I do hear that they like humidity/dampness (rampant where I live)…Oh, and I’m with you on leggings as outerwear. Not polite.

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  21. I don’t need to see any other part of this dress. The sleeve and skirt that is visible is enough for me. I. LOVE. THIS. DRESS. Rhapsody in orange…

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  22. Well, I’d like to know how to get a copy of the magazine. I’ve tried 5 times now to order it through the website, and PayPal refuses to accept the ‘antibot’ code for my credit card. I made the foolish mistake of calling their customer service to ask what I was doing wrong, and was put on hold for 5 minutes at long distance minutes ticking away. After I had spent more than the mailing cost of the magazine in long distance, I hung up. So, no magazine for me and a $5 or so charge on my phone bill. Hoorah. I will NEVER use PayPal, so guess all the fabulousness will pass me by.Sorry about the rant, but there’s nowhere to complain to the actual companies.

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  23. Bella, what kind of freezer have you tried the freezing technique with and how long did you leave the clothes in there? I have it on authority from an… oh, what do you call it? A bug expert (anomia strikes again) that you need to put the clothes in a real freezer (like a deep freeze, not the one that’s part of your refridgerator) and that you should leave them in there for at least two weeks for it to actually work.

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  24. La belladonnaWell as far as the moths go I have thought about machine guns or grenades. I paid $297 to get some sweaters and a sweater dress re-woven. I discovered a few days ago that the moths have munched on my sweater dress on the shoulder this time. I was so mad. I just went and put it in the garbage. I also saw that the moths have eaten my new wool pink shoes and the moths were still on one of the shoes eating. I was so angry. These were brand new shoes I have not even worn yet. I shook the shoes over the toilet in disgust. This is what I was told to do buy a humidifier. Put loads of cedar in with your clothes. The moths where I live I guess like mothballs. I was also told to get a cedar chest. Im looking into this. My mama has a cedar chest and has never had a problem. She has wool clothing in there from when I was a child. There are places you can buy sheets of cedar and cut them up in large pieces and layer them in your clothes. My dh thinks I need to do this. He went to Lowes and homedepo and they have just recently quit carrying this stuff. I have to look somewhere else for the cedar sheets of wood. I was also told moths here where I live do not like humidifiers. I have decided to buy one. I was hoping to wear my sweaterdress this year they are back in style I guess. Mine was from the early 90’s it was from Nordstorms and I drycleaned it so it looked brand new. I wear things if they look good on me wheather they are instyle or. I do like some of the things from the 80’s then there are others I do not like. I like the picture of dress that Erin posted. I would have to have a different color. There is nothing wrong with orange mind ya. I just dont look good in it and need another color.

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  25. The problem for me, Floridaprincess, is that I live in an apartment, alone, and I don’t drive. No way to get sheets of cedar, no way to bring them home, no way to cut them, and no place to put them. Same thing with the freezers, Robinson; all I have is the freezer for an apartment-sized refrigerator. That’s why I was bug-bomb specific. The cedar repels the adult moths, but it’s the tightly-closed chest that actually keeps them out. You also want to be careful that you don’t have sheets of wood lying against your clothes; the oils from the wood can stain them, the acid from the wood can cause deterioration, and plain old splinters can cause snags. You need something acid-free between the clothes and the actual wood itself. Even storing silk against something other than silk will cause it to deteriorate faster. Yes, the wool of a wool jacket will cause the silk of its own lining to deteriorate a little faster, but I’m not going to worry so much about that.

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  26. Msagnostic, I don’t know if I can help you as far as the magazine is concerned, but if you want to call PayPal and reach a live person, dial 8665713012 and say “agent” at each prompt, ignoring messages. This should get you to a live person to correct the problem. And I would suggest you see if you can try to get a reimbursement for the long-distance charges you incurred, as well. (The “866” area code should be a toll-free number.)Good luck!

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  27. La belladonna Thankyou for all the information on the cedar wood. Good luck for finding a solution on your moth problem. Moths stress me out!!!

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  28. I honestly don’t see why people are hating on leggings. If worn the right way, they can look flattering. In my opinion, as long as they’re not worn as a substitute for pants, then it’s all good.

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