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”Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History” -the first exhibition to focus on the influential American fashion designer,at the Jewish Museum,NY

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“I have every sketch I ever did.I don’t know why, I feel like the sketches are part of my flesh.”

-Isaac Mizrahi~

“… elevates his best works from design into art.”

~ The New York Times~

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Installation view of the exhibition “Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History.”
Photo: Will Ragozzino.

Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History is the first museum exhibition to focus on the influential American fashion designer, artist, and entrepreneur. On view through August 7, the exhibition explores Isaac Mizrahi’s unique position at the intersection of high style and popular culture. While best known for his clothing designs, Mizrahi’s creativity has expanded over a nearly three decade career to embrace acting, directing, set and costume design, writing, and cabaret performance. Spanning his first collection in 1988 to the present day, An Unruly History weaves together the many threads of his prolific career, juxtaposing work in fashion, film, television, and the performing arts.

Isaac Mizrahi’s inventive and provocative style advances complex issues within the fashion arena, igniting a spirited discourse about high versus low, modern glamour, and contemporary culture. For example, his runway shows were cast with unconventionally beautiful models of all ethnicities dressed in Star of David belts, Western-wear infused handmade lace, Adidas sneakers in place of high heels, handbags worn as hats, or humble cotton undershirts paired with floor-length taffeta skirts. Uniting opposites is a Mizrahi signature, which arises in his many combinations of evening and sportswear, formal and casual, and couture and mass market.

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Installation view of the exhibition Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History, March 18 – August 7, 2016. The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo: Will Ragozzino/SocialShutterbug.com

Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History is organized thematically, exploring key trends in Mizrahi’s work — from the use of color and prints, to witty designs that touch on issues of race, religion, class, and politics. The core of the exhibition features iconic designs from the Isaac Mizrahi New York clothing label (1987 – 1998), the “semi-couture” collections (2003 – 2011), and the trailblazing line for Target (2002 – 2008). The show is comprised of 42 “looks” that include clothing, hats, jewelry, shoes, accessories, and costumes for the theater, the opera, and the Mark Morris Dance Group. Also featured are the designer’s original drawings, performance stills, and behind-the-scenes photographs. A bespoke multi-screen video installation showcases a variety of content drawn from film and television cameos and runway shows, as well as from the award-winning documentary Unzipped; the television program The Isaac Mizrahi Show; scenes from the cabaret LES MIZrahi; appearances on Project Runway; and the current QVC network show IsaacMizrahiLive!.

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Installation view of the exhibition Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History, March 18 – August 7, 2016. The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo: Will Ragozzino/SocialShutterbug.com

Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History is organized by Chee Pearlman, Guest Curator, with Kelly Taxter, Assistant Curator, the Jewish Museum.

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Isaac Mizrahi, sketch for Extreme Kilt, fall 1989.
Photo: Richard Goodbody, courtesy the Jewish Museum, New York.

 

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