One-of-a-Kind Garment

China Machado, original photographs from cover shoot for Harper’s Bazaar. Photos by Bill King

 
 

Harper’s Bazaar cover, April 1971 issue

 
 

Tie-dyed suede shirt by Halston, 1971

 
 

The earliest surviving examples of Pre-Columbian tie-dye in Peru date from 500 to 810 AD. Their designs include small circles and lines, with bright colors including red, yellow, blue, and green.

Tie-dye is a modern term coined in the mid-1960s in the United States for a set of ancient resist-dyeing techniques, and for the products of these processes. The process of tie-dye typically consists of folding, twisting, pleating, or crumpling fabric or a garment and binding with string or rubber bands, followed by application of dye(s). The manipulations of the fabric prior to application of dye are called resists, as they partially or completely prevent the applied dye from coloring the fabric. More sophisticated tie-dyes involve additional steps, including an initial application of dye prior to the resist, multiple sequential dye and resist steps, and the use of other types of resists (stitching, stencils) and discharge.

Tie-dyeing was known in the US by 1909, when Professor Charles E. Pellow of Columbia University acquired some samples of tie-dyed muslin and subsequently gave a lecture and live demonstration of the technique.

Although shibori and batik techniques were used occasionally in Western fashion before the 1960s, modern psychedelic tie-dying did not become a fad until the late 1960s following the example set by rock stars such as Janis Joplin and John Sebastian (who did his own dyeing).

Tie-dying, particularly after the introduction of affordable Rit dyes, became popular as a cheap and accessible way to customize inexpensive T-shirts, singlets, dresses, jeans, army surplus clothing, and other garments into psychedelic creations. Some of the leading names in tie-dye at this time were Water Baby Dye Works (run by Ann Thomas and Maureen Mubeem), Bert Bliss, and Up Tied, the latter winning a Coty Award for “major creativity in fabrics” in 1970. Up Tied created tie-dyed velvets and silk chiffons which were used for exclusive one-of-a-kind garments by Halston, Donald Brooks, and Gayle Kirkpatrick, whilst another tie-dyer, Smooth Tooth Inc. dyed garments for Dior and Jonathan Logan.

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Born to Be a Model

China Machado wearing a dress constructed of Richard Avedon’s photographs of herself

 
 

“I was born to be a model. I don’t mean that physically because, as Dick (Richard Avedon) once told me, “You’ll never make a lot of money in this industry because you’re too special”. But like models now, from an early age I was accustomed to moving a lot. I was born in Shanghai in 1929 and lived there till I was 16. We were forced out (during the Japanese occupation) and then I lived between Argentina and Peru before I came to Europe.

I fell in love with a bullfighter, Luis Miguel Dominguín, which was a very big scandal. My family didn’t speak to me for 15 years. But I don’t regret it. He was 27 and gorgeous, like Mick Jagger. In Paris I sang in a nightclub, and I met Hubert de Givenchy and started to work in his atelier. There were two types of models in the early ‘50s: photographic models and runway models, which is what I was. It was different then. I would work with a designer for three months, as they would create dresses specifically for me. It was couture. I made $100 a month, and I was the highest-paid model in Europe at the time. I had a very distinctive walk.

In September 1958, I arrived in New York. Diana Vreeland cast me in a group of fashion show, which I opened wearing a fabulous Balenciaga dress. Dick saw me, and the next thing I knew I was in his studio. I worked exclusively with Dick and Bazaar for the next three years. I stopped in 1962 because, frankly, I couldn’t give a damn. A model had so much to worry about: we had to get our own hair done and do our own makeup. I was happy to become a fashion editor at Bazaar (from 1962 to 1972).

I eat all the time. My favorite food is rice, and I eat it at least once a day. I’m always active. Perhaps that’s what keeps me in shape- I’m always moving. In 1972 I was on the cover of Bazaar, and I said the same thing: I don’t exercise, I don’t diet, and I dye my own hair. People thought I was lying. But it was true then and it’s true now.”

 
 

Yves Saint Laurent’s cotton crepe dress. Tony Duquette earrings and necklace

 
 

China Machado wearing Alexander McQueen’s silk satin dress; Tony Duquette earrings and Nicholas Varney bracelet. All Photographs by Bruce Weber

Smoking She Waits

China Machado in a suit by Ben Zuckerman. Photo by Richard Avedon. Harper’s Bazaar, February 1959

 
 

Portrait by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Harper’s Bazaar, April 2012

 
 

To smoke is a brilliant, sensual pleasure…
Smoking I wait for the man I love,
behind the glass of happy large windows.
And while I smoke my life I don’t consume
because floating the smoke I usually fall to sleep.

Laying in my sofa, smoking and making love,
seeing my loved one happy and enamored,
feeling his lips to kiss with wise kisses.
And feeling the affair with more desire,
when I feel his eyes thirsty with passion.

For when my darling is in
my smoking is an Eden.
Give me the smoke from your mouth
Give me that in me,
provokes passion
Run that I want
to go crazy with pleasure,
feeling that heat
of the intoxicating smoke
that ends up lighting up
the ardent flame of the love.

The hour of restlessness with him is not cruel
his spirals are celestial dreams,
and they form clouds that towards the glory raise
and surrounded in it, his spark is a star,
that shines clear and beautiful with limpid splendor.

 

Music by Juan Viladomat Masanas. Lyrics by Félix Garzo

1922

 
 

Sara Montiel sang with her deep voice the famous version of Fumando espero (Smoking I Wait) in  El Último Cuplé (The Last Torch Song), a 1957 Spanish movie directed by Juan de Orduña. Set in the late 19th century, the story concerns a famous music-hall singer who achieves fame with the help of a handsome impresario (Armando Calvo). At the height of her success, our heroine falls for a much-younger bullfighter (Enrique Vera).

Pretentiousness Stripped Away

Self-Portrait

 
 

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, born in Florida on 1952,  is an American documentary filmmaker and portrait photographer, son of Miami musician and teacher Dr. Ruth W. Greenfield. The majority of his work is shot in large format.

Simple yet revealing, his portraits are direct and get right to the heart of the subject. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders prefers to strip away pretentiousness when portraying political figures, entertainers, artists, musicians and other intriguing personalities. His backdrops never distract from the subject, and he often uses a single light source to mimic natural light. His work has elevated him to one of the most acclaimed portrait photographers of our time.

He started out with an interest in filmmaking, and majored in art history at New York’s Columbia University. He later moved to Los Angeles, to study at the American Film Institute. Renowned actors and directors, such as Ingmar Bergman, Orson Welles, and Alfred Hitchcock (“the masters of the cinema”) often made appearances at the school to talk about their work. To document these occasions, AFI sought a volunteer to shoot these visiting celebrities’ portraits. On a whim, Greenfield-Sanders took the challenge and became the school’s photographer.

With these luminaries available to him, Greenfield-Sanders snapped away, and learned much in the process. “Because of AFI, I got tips from celebrities as well as access to them,” he says. Hitchcock once remarked, “Young man, your lights are all wrong,” while Bette Davis criticized him harshly for “shooting from below.” (“She had some great swear words,” he laughs.)

His father-in-law is Joop Sanders, a founder of the abstract expressionist movement in New York, who introduced Greenfield-Sanders to a number of artists. Thus, painters like Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers and Robert Rauschenberg posed for his camera. Over a 20-year span, he photographed hundreds of artists, dealers, collectors and critics. In 1999, 700 of these images were displayed at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York, and he published an accompanying book, entitled Art World. In the beginning, Greenfield-Sanders’ editorial photos that he shot for clients like Barron’s and SoHo News helped to pay for this project.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ portraits are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The New York Public Library, The Whitney Museum and The National Portrait Gallery among others. In 2004, seven hundred of his art world portraits were accepted into the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

A number of books on Greenfield-Sanders’ work have been published: Art World (Fotofolio), Timothy Greenfield-Sanders his first monograph, (Alberico Cetti Serbelloni Editori), XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits (Bulfinch Press) “Face to Face” (Skira), Look: Portraits Backstage at Olympus Fashion Week (Powerhouse) The Black List (Atria of Simon and Schuster) The Latino List (Luxury) and The Black List 50 (Luxury).

Greenfield-Sanders produced and directed nine films. His first, Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart, was a feature documentary about the legendary rock musician. The film aired in April 1998 on the PBS Series American Masters and premiered in the United States at Sundance Film Festival and in Europe at The Berlin Film Festival. It screened at over 50 film festivals worldwide. Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart won a 1999 Grammy Award for best music documentary.

In addition to this once-in-a-lifetime experience, he took the opportunity to build an impressive portfolio of many of the biggest names in Hollywood. His access to these stars bolstered his reputation as a celebrity shooter and he soon got work taking portraits for Interview and People magazines. “I began loving portrait photography more than making films,” he comments. He is also a contributing photographer at Vanity Fair magazine.

Thinking XXX, a film about the making of the XXX book, first aired in October 2004 on HBO. A soundtrack CD was released in November 2004 by Ryko Records. In addition, in October 2004, the XXX portraits were exhibited in New York at the Mary Boone Gallery and subsequently at numerous galleries worldwide including John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, Bernd Kluser Gallery in Munich, Berman/Turner Projects in Los Angeles, Paolo Curti Gallery in Milan and Howard Russeck Gallery in Palm Beach.

In 2006, Greenfield-Sanders photographed injured soldiers and marines for HBO’s film, Alive Day Memories. The images were widely published, shown in numerous exhibitions and purchased by The Library of Congress.

Between 2008-2010, Greenfield-Sanders produced and directed The Black List Project: a series of 3 documentaries for HBO, a traveling museum exhibition of portraits organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, a book with Simon and Schuster’s Atria and DVDs with Target. In addition, the project included an educational initiative in conjunction with The United Negro College Fund.

 
 

Alfred Hitchcock

 
 

Orson Welles

 
 

John Waters

 
 

Ethan Hawke

 
 

Toni Morrison

 
 

Robert De Niro Sr.

 
 

Elaine De Kooning

 
 

Louise Bourgeois

 
 

David Wojnarowicz

 
 

Francesco Clemente

 
 

Keith Haring

 
 

Dennis Hopper

 
 

Slash

 
 

Lou Reed

 
 

Mark Strand

 
 

Norman Mailer

 
 

William S. Burroughs

 
 

David Bowie

The Elegant Portraiture of Timothy Greenfield Sanders

“For many photographers, fashion is the ultimate. But I’m not a fashion photographer. I’m a portrait artist who shoots fashion”

Timothy Greenfield Sanders

 
 

Yves Saint Laurent

 
 

Pauline Trigère

 
 

Sonia Rykiel

 
 

Rei Kawakubo

 
 

Todd Oldham

 
 

Jean Muir

 
 

Elsa Peretti

 
 

Paloma Picasso

 
 

Carolina Herrera

 
 

Carmen Dell’Orefice

 
 

Oscar De la Renta

 
 

Jil Sander

 
 

Vera Wang

 
 

Donna Karan

 
 

Naomi Campbell

 
 

Christy Turlington

 
 

Andre Leon Talley

 
 

Liz Tilberis

 
 

Anna Wintour

 
 

Simon Doonan

 
 

Iké Udé

 
 

Hamish Bowles

 
 

Betsey Johnson

 
 

Miguel Adrover

 
 

Patrick Robinson

 
 

Zac Posen

 
 

Michael Kors

 
 

Narciso Rodríguez

 
 

Calvin Klein

 
 

Tommy Hilfiger

 
 

Isaac Mizrahi

“The Most Stylish People”

Isaac Mizrahi decks out Arthur Hubbert in his take on hip-hop in 1991. Photo By Richard Bowditch/WWD Archive

 
 

“The most stylish people are the homegirls and homeboys,” remarked Isaac Mizrahi, who, inspired by his elevator operator Arthur Hubbert, offered his own witty take: He accessorized his lineup that season with Star of David medallions recast to oversize, Run-DMC proportions.

The designer also had comedienne Sandra Bernhard open his show with a hip-hop ode of her own. “He’s got the look that’s unky-fey,” she rapped. “Big gold jewelry you’re proud to be seen in. Homegirl look is the only way.” And while the trend would pulse stronger some years over others, the industry’s flirtation with the various guises of urban street-chic style remained with designers such as Tommy Hilfiger and brands, including Rocawear, Phat Farm, Ecko and Enyce.

A Behind-the-Seams Look at the World of High Fashion

 
 

Isaac Mizrahi can make things out of tulle or nubuck, but his most fabulous creation is the one he has made of flesh and blood. It is Mr. Mizrahi’s hilarious, happily Napoleonic personality that makes such a treat of Unzipped, Douglas Keeve‘s crafty valentine to the fashion world in general and this irrepressible designer in particular.

And intimacy with his subject — as both a fashion photographer and Mr. Mizrahi’s former lover — only heightens Mr. Keeve’s acuity rather than compromising his perspective. Of course in terms of objectivity, it helps that Unzipped has nothing to do with state secrets and everything to do with fake fur.

A smart, spiky documentary with just the right running time (76 minutes), Unzipped appreciates not only the loony excess that makes fashion such a high-stakes adventure, but also the monomania of Mr. Mizrahi’s creative process. Who else watches The Call of the Wild (William A. Wellman, 1935) and obsesses about the lip-liner on Loretta Young? As Mr. Mizrahi explains to the camera, if you’re going to freeze on the tundra, you might as well do it with your makeup un smudged.

A little while later, he is skillfully trying out the same anecdote on Polly Allen Mellen, a fashion arbiter who is enough to out-doyenne any and all of the characters in Robert Altman‘s Ready-to-Wear. (Comparisons between the two films are invidious but unavoidable. For electricity and fun, not to mention fashion sense, this one comes out miles ahead.) Ms. Mellen listens to Mr. Mizrahi in ways that make it clear his charm is working, and that charm counts for everything in this universe. For her part, Ms. Mellen advises him to “Be careful of makeup; be careful!” She sounds solemn enough to be warning Caesar about the ides of March.

Unzipped is filled with such telling moments and lively walk-ons, not only by power-brokers and Mr. Mizrahi’s business associates, but also by the celebrities who give the designer’s world its spark. It’s no small measure of Mr. Mizrahi’s talents as a born entertainer that he can chitchat easily with gorgeous, scene-stealing supermodels (Cindy Crawford talks about her pores, Naomi Campbell about her navel ring, Kate Moss about appearing in her underwear, etc.) and leave no doubt about who is the star of this show.

Unzipped is neatly structured to follow Mr. Mizrahi through the creation of a single collection, which begins in disaster. When first seen, he is crushed by reviews of his last designs (“Certainly his sense of how a modern woman dresses after 8 P.M. failed him”) and is about to start again at square one. The film understands that this process can look silly while being deadly serious. And it enjoys watching while a man who loves his work and lives vividly in his imagination — a fun place to be — tries out ideas. He’s not even really kidding when he daydreams about a fake-fur jumpsuit, perfect for dog-walking, that could work in one of two environments: Alaska or the Upper East Side.

Mr. Mizrahi is seen auditioning models, talking fabrics, working on sketches and gossiping madly about everyone he meets. (He does a dandy impersonation of Eartha Kitt, whose real presence is smoothly intercut with the Mizrahi version.) Throughout all of this, it’s also clear that he is driven rather than frivolous, controlling his employees and the camera crew with equal precision. When one scene finds him ambushed by upsetting news — Jean-Paul Gaultier has done a Nanook look before the completion of the Mizrahi version — he simply puts his face in his hands and refuses to move. That’s not as good as yelling “Cut!,” but it’s the next best thing.

The candor of Unzipped may be as contrived as the pouf skirts, but that doesn’t lessen its appeal. After all, in what other culture can you overhear people saying “punk and Hasidic” and have the slightest idea what they mean? (They mean a fashion gaffe by Jean-Paul Gaultier.) Even the film’s carefully controlled scenes can be revealing, as in its glimpses of Sarah Mizrahi, who beams at her boy and says “My Isaac made this” with motherly pride. She is all maternal encouragement until, when teased by Isaac, she insists: “That’s not funny at all. I have a very good eye.”

(Only Mary Tyler Moore in her Mary Richards days seems to rival Isaac’s mother as a feminine influence on him. Whatever that means, this film knows enough to leave it unexplained.)

Edited to capture the mounting drama of staging a collection, and filmed by Ellen Kuras in a fluent variety of camera styles (grainy black and white to accentuate the workaday fashion world, exuberant color for the finished clothes), Unzipped builds its tension until it reaches the big day. It looks on as Mr. Mizrahi changes from life of the party into drill sergeant, frantically finishing the clothes and insisting on a see-through ballet scrim to partly shield the models who are backstage. That idea itself becomes a theatrical triumph.

Then the crowd gathers and the show begins. It is alluringly “insane with color” (as Women’s Wear Daily will later gush), and yes, it is exciting enough to make sense of this whole enterprise. You may recall that Ready-to-Wear tried to lend thrills and meaning to this crowning moment by sending models down the runway stark naked. But Unzipped doesn’t have to be that unzipped. It knows why clothes work better.

Unzipping Nanook of the North

Nanook of the North (also known as Nanook of the North: A Story Of Life and Love In the Actual Arctic) is a 1922 silent documentary film by Robert J. Flaherty, contaminated by docudrama, at a time when separating films into documentary and drama did not yet exist.  In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

 
 

Isaac, Inspired By Nanook Of The North sketches fur pants. Scenes of Unzipped reveal the designer sketching in bed as he watches Nanook of the North—“All I want is to do fur pants!”—and convincing his supermodel participants to don his designs behind a see-through scrim “so the audience can watch models dress backstage.”

 
 

Isaac Mizrahi. Fall-Winter 1994 collection

 
 

There is a scene in Unzipped where one of Isaac Mizrahi’s minions tentatively approaches him with the latest issue of WWD featuring Jean-Paul Gaultier’s collection based on a similar Nanook of the North theme. Isaac reacts to the catastrophe by venting his frustration on the meek messenger. “Don’t show these things to me I’ve not been looking at it. Just don’t show it to me. You showed it to me. It’s like you took some evil pleasure in it.”

 
 

The Richard Avedon of Asia

Self-portrait

 
 

Russel Wong is a Singapore-born Hollywood celebrity photographer. He had his primary and secondary education at Anglo-Chinese School. His celebrity portraits have earned him celebrity status. He is heralded as “the Richard Avedon of Asia” –an association Wong doesn’t seem to mind.

Like Avedon, Wong creates stunning portraits that are minimal, dramatic, and brilliantly composed. However, his photographs lack the cool indifference and stiffness of Avedon’s work; instead, the imagery is warm, personal, engaging.

Where does that gift comes from? “It’s difficult to explain”, he begins. “When I shoot someone, I feel like I’m dancing. The idea I’m working with is equivalent to the melody I hear in my head… then I improvise what that song’s ups and downs. I often try something wild at the end.”

The legendary celebrity-photographer the late Richard Avedon [1923-2004] had once sharply noted ‘my portraits are more about me than about the people I photograph’. This observation from the towering figure who chiselled his reputation on photographing the celebrated and the powerful suggests that the portrait-image could reveal as much about the photographer as it does the sitter-subject – or more. Russel Wong [b. 1961-] who (as stated before) has been christened the Richard Avedon of Asia by the popular media, wields an inventory of celebrity portraits that would exhaust most name-droppers. Joining the tradition of celebrity photographers like Avedon, Annie Leibovitz [1949-] Helmut Newton [1920-2004] and Herb Ritts [1952-2002], Wong’s practice ruptures the slender line between celebrity photography and fine art. Whilst some critics banish this genre as a soft art form shaped by the pressures and demands of celebrity publicity machines, most agree that this species of photography remains one of the most potent and most difficult to commandeer. It is one thing to wrestle for access to celebrities and quite another feat to persuade strong self-willed celebrities who are well-acquainted with camera tactics to trust if not share, one’s vision.

Several pivotal shifts in Wong’s practice occurred after his enrollment in the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in 1984 for a fine art degree (Photography). There he encountered tutors and mentors whose personal charisma and professional triumphs exerted great influence over his formative development. In his second year, Wong made a 4-month ‘immersion trip’ to Milan, Italy – ‘the Mecca, where all aspiring fashion photographers go to, and where all the big-name photographers pay their dues’ [Russel Wong, interview 2004]. Wong learnt the language, ate the food and hung out at the Italian fashion cafes, like The White Bear, where models and photographers congregated. Most importantly, his photographic style and approach changed radically, and these shifts were not lost on his mentors. Amongst these was Paul Jasmin [1935-], the renowned fashion designer and photographer who worked with Vogue and Interview. Jasmin introduced Wong to his agent who also represented Herb Ritts.

The agent subsequently became Wong’s first agent in his career – opening the doors to major magazine assignments. Another seminal figure was Antonio Lopez [1943-1987] the flamboyant Puerto Rican fashion illustrator noted for his portraits of Jerry Hall, Jessica Lange and Grace Jones. Lopez, a cult figure in the circles, had in the 1970s, run a Paris salon with Karl Lagerfeld for fashion celebrities. Lopez noted Wong’s work and connected Wong to the remarkable photographer Art Kane [1925-1995] who had photographed The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan among others.

“Antonio said, ‘Go to New York. I will help you!’ He invited me to his New York studio in Union Square and he called up a bunch of photographers. At the point when Antonio introduced me to Art Kane, I was ready to be an assistant, intern, anything. I didn’t really care, because I just wanted to see what it was like to do real photographic work in a New York loft.
I would have waited tables, carried the photographer’s lights, made coffee… you name it. But it turned out that I didn’t have to do any of that. I don’t know if this is good or bad but I didn’t have to assist any photographer on my way up. They liked my work, and it all began.”
[Russel Wong, interview 2004]

 
 

Antonio Lopez

 
 

David Lynch

 
 

Isabella Rossellini

 
 

Kenzo Takada

 
 

Helmut Newton

 
 

Oliver Stone

 
 

Joan Chen

 
 

John Galliano

 
 

Cindy Crawford

Fashion’s Favorite Son

Portrait by Russel Wong, taken in Raffles Hotel, Singapore, 1997

 
 

“A kind of Seventh Avenue Oscar WildeTime magazine called Isaac Mizrahi in 1998, after the shocking news broke that the superstar designer was closing up shop. The dimming of lights at Isaac Mizrahi & Co. marked the end of a spectacular run for the Brooklyn native, who had been a fashion and media darling since his first rave reviews more than a decade before.

 
 

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Naomi Campbell, Isaac Mizrahi and Linda Evangelista. Photo by Mario Testino

 
 

Beloved both on and off the runway, the mop-haired raconteur was already a household name when he made a charmingly manic appearance in the fashion documentary Unzipped. By trailing the designer as he prepared his fall 1994 collection (conceived with the help of an Ouija board), Douglas Keeve offered a tantalizing peek behind fashion’s velvet curtain in his film. But not even the king-size force of Mizrahi’s character was enough to sustain the ride. Though his couture-luxe line of candy-color (“Pink! The new beige!”) sequined slip dresses and mink-trimmed ball skirts was admired by critics and Park Avenue princesses alike, his star was destined to fall. Isaac Mizrahi, the personality, was, it appeared, bigger than Isaac Mizrahi the brand.

 
 

Dress from Ready to Wear Spring 2012 collection

But after spending several years on other creative endeavors (including a one-man stage production, Les MIZrahi, and a talk show), the buoyant designer that Vogue once called “Fashion’s Favorite Son” was itching to get back to his first love.

 
 

The polymath Isaac Mizrahi in his studio in Manhattan. Photo: Damon Winter

 
 

In 2003 he surprised the industry by announcing a multicategory deal with Target. Kicking the Mizrahi machine into high gear, he spun straw into gold, raking in as much as $300 million in annual sales for the bargain retailer and paving the way for it to forge lucrative partnerships with other high-profile designers. Meanwhile, Mizrahi was also working at the opposite end of the price spectrum, indulging in glorious fabrics and flamboyant silhouettes with a new haute couture line for Bergdorf Goodman. In a landmark 2004 show, Mizrahi helped popularize the high-low concept by pairing pieces from his two new lines on the same runway. “My goal is that you won’t always be able to tell the difference between what is Target and what is couture,” he said. “If it freaks out a few people now, it will turn them on a few months from now.” The risky proposition paid off, and a trend—populuxe, or luxury for all—was born.

In 2009, Mizrahi applied his golden thimble to the ailing Liz Claiborne brand with a fresh injection of his signature brights and prints. And in 2010 the tireless dynamo launched a collection for the shopping channel QVC, with a broad spectrum of products from jewelry and hats to cheesecakes adorned with his favorite tartans and polka dots.

Running like a thread through all these projects is a philosophy of bringing out the best and brightest from within his customers. To borrow the advertising slogan from his Isaac line: “Inside every woman is a star.”

 
 

Mizrahi and Cindy Crawford. Still from Unzipped

The Madcap Maestro of American Haute Couture

Portrait of Isaac Mizrahi by Annie Leibovitz. Published in Vogue, December 1995

 
 

Isaac Mizrahi was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1961, of Syrian Jewish heritage. He is the cousin of rock guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, former player in the New York Dolls.

When Isaac was eight, his family moved to the middle-class Midwood section of Brooklyn. He contracted spinal meningitis during this time and his confinement was spent eating junk food and viewing television, especially old movies. The 1961 remake of Back Street, about an affair between a fashion designer and a married man, was a pivotal event in Mizrahi’s development. The glamour of the fashion industry depicted in the movie became an inspiration to him to design clothes.

Around 1971, young Isaac steals money from his mother to buy fabric and trimmings. At eleven, he saves up babysitting money and purchases his first sewing machine—a secondhand Singer from the 1920s—and begins stitching clothes for his puppets. He later says, “I felt like a total outcast. I used to sit and make these puppets and watch a lot of television and a lot of movies on television. My mother was really worried about me. Everybody was worried about me.”

After struggling to fit in at Yeshiva of Flatbush, an Orthodox Jewish private school (where he is caught sketching fashions in his prayer books and doing rabbi impersonations), Isaac transfers to New York’s High School of Performing Arts. “It was a setting free,” he will later say. Dabbles in acting. October: At Isaac’s bar mitzvah—to which he wears “sky-blue shantung” —his father presents him with a pair of scissors engraved with his name.At 13, Isaac was designing clothes for himself, his mother, and a close friend of his mother, Sarah Haddad.

Isaac makes an appearance as Touchstone in the singing-and-dancing-teens film Fame (Alan Parker, 1980), based on the competitive atmosphere at his performing-arts alma mater.

His earliest design influences stemmed from his his mother’s all-American wardrobe, which included clothing from Halston, Geoffrey Beene, Claire McCardell and Norman Norell.

1982 Graduated from Parsons School of Design, New York. Among his fellow students is Marc Jacobs, two years his junior. “At Parsons, everyone thought he was incredibly talented,” Jacobs later recalls.

Worked for Perry Ellis, and said he was a major influence who taught him how to cut a dress, and many lessons in life. After this, he worked with Jeff Banks and Calvin Klein.

After leaving Calvin Klein, in June 1987 he and Sarah Haddad-Cheney pooled $50,000 each and opened Mizrahi’s own womenswear company. They occupied a loft on Greene Street in SoHo. Seven stores bought the first season’s collection. By the first collection show in April 1988 Haddad-Cheney had secured additional financing from the owners of Gitano Jeans company. In 1990 the company’s workrooms and showroom moved to an expanded space on Wooster Street. Mizrahi’s menswear collection premiered in April 1990.

1990 Isaac Mizrahi is presented with the CFDA designer of the year award for his women’s wear collection.
The year 1997 proved to be a milestone in Mizrahi’s career. He announced an unprecedented deal with three major Asian markets in Japan, Singapore, and Korea which included freestanding stores, in-store shops, wholesale distribution, manufacturing, and sublicenses in Japan and shops and distribution in Southeast Asia, an online ABC source reported. The deal was estimated to generate at least $150 million in retail sales by the year 2000.

Mizrahi has made appearances in numerous television shows and movies since the 1990s. In 1995, a movie was released about the development of his Fall 1994 collection called Unzipped made by his freind Douglas Keeve. In fall 2005 the Isaac show debuted on Style Network. He previously had a show on the Oxygen network. His new less-expensive line ISAAC, opens in 34 locations around the USA. Each boutique will show his new logo, a Silver Star.

He often appears on many of E!’s programs and has become well-known for being flamboyant and considered by some to be rude. He also appeared as himself in the episode “Plus One is the Loneliest Number” of the fifth season of Sex and the City.
He also guest starred on the American dramedy series Ugly Betty (based on Fernando Gaitán‘s Colombian telenovela soap opera Yo soy Betty, la fea), in which he played a reporter for the cable channel Fashion TV in the episode “Lose the Boss“.

Mizrahi also appeared as himself in The Apprentice season 1 (episode 6) as one of the celebrities auction for The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

He made a series of comic books called Sandee, the Adventures of a Supermodel, published by Simon & Schuster.
Mizrahi is currently the spokesperson for Klein-Becker’s StriVectin anti-wrinkle cream.

He is developing “The Collection,” a one-hour scripted project that draws on the experiences of the designer for The CW Network.

Known for his magnetic personality and witty style, Mizrahi has won four Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards. He is famous for his use of colour and the clean flattering lines of his designs. Chanel, who was financing him, pulled the plug and Isaac had closed his own fashion house in 1998. He started his own TV show interviewing celebrities.

However in February 2003, Mizrahi entered into a new partnership with New York based Hip retailer TARGET. Isaac created an exclusive collection of classically designed fashion sportswear and accessories for style conscious women. The collections are named “Isaac Mizrahi for Target” and he unveiled his debut collection in April 2003 in Minneapolis at the Walker Arts Center. Target is putting the designer back on the fashion map in a major mass-market way.

When he was interviewed, Isaac said he was very happy working with Target. Certain aspects of the couture scene and the constant rush to try and make money, just made him unhappy. Now he is making clothes for ordinary Americans at reasonable prices, and they are “racy, fun and crazy” and very popular.

But Isaac’s heart has always been with fashion shows, and in June 2004 he put on his first show in six years, and it was really successful. The show celebrates Bergdorf Goodman’s decision to devote space in its American couture collections for Mizrahi’s label.

The Concept of Travel in an Emotional Sense

“The Journey of a star, captured in a flash”. Annie Leibovitz and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Annie’s studio, New York

 
 

“Is there any greater journey than love?” Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi. New York

 
 

“There are journeys that turn into legends”. Sean Connery, Bahamas Islands

 
 

“Every journey began in Africa”- Ali and Bono. Uganda

 
 

“A journey bring us face to face with ourselves”. Mikhail Gorbachev, Berlin, Germany

 
 

“Some stars show you the way”. Muhammad Ali and a rising star. Phoenix, Arizona

 
 

“Three exceptional journeys. One historic game”. Pelé, Diego Armando Maradona and Zinadine Zidane. Madrid, Spain

 
 

“Some journeys change mankind forever”. Sally Ride, Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lowell. California

 
 

“A single journey can change the course of a life”. Angelina Jolie. Cambodia

 
 

“Inside every story, there is a beautiful journey”. Sofia Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola. Buenos Aires, Argentina

 
 

Louis Vuitton Core Values campaigns revisit the brand’s heritage with a completely fresh interpretation of the concept of travel in an emotional sense, viewed as a personal journey, a process of self-discovery. The campaign debuted in September 2007 in major international titles featuring no other but the former Soviet statesman Mikhail Gorbachev, the French movie siren Catherine Deneuve, the founding member of The Rolling Stones Keith Richards and the tennis power couple Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, among many other influential and famous people.

Pietro Beccari, Senior VP of Communication explains this shot: “Not only does it capture the unique quality of a father-daughter relationship, in which both are enriched by a shared experience, but it also evokes the heritage of Louis Vuitton with its suggestion of know-how being passed from one generation to the next.”

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11’s first steps on the Moon, the ad features legendary astronauts Sally Ride (first American woman in space), Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11, first steps on the Moon, 1969) and Jim Lovell (Apollo 13) looking up in the Californian desert night sky.

In 2010 Brazil’s Pelé, Argentina’s Diego Maradona and France’s Zinedine Zidane all won football’s ultimate prize, and all wore the emblematic N°10 shirt. They met up in the Café Maravillas, a typical bar in Madrid, and were tempted into a game of table football. The image leaves the suspense intact, but clearly captures the atmosphere of fun and friendly rivalry.

Given the photographer of all Core Value campaigns personal and financial troubles in 2010, Louis Vuitton wished to offer support in the most positive way and suggested that Annie Leibovitz become the next campaign’s hero. She accepted on the condition that she appears alongside for friend and one of the foremost dancers of the 20th century, Mikhail Baryshnikov.

This is the first time U2 frontman Bono has appeared in an ad sans his bandmates, but instead with his wife Ali Hewson. It’s also the first time that a label other than Louis Vuitton is getting a fashion credit – the pair are wearing their own clothing line Edun, a line of ethical fashion. Proceeds from the sales will go to TechnoServe, which supports sustainable farming in Africa.

As the pioneer of the art du voyage, Louis Vuitton is always on the look out for the exceptional people with extraordinary journeys. The question is who will be next?

The Photo Which Gave Birth to the Modern Maternity Portrait

Ever since Annie Leibovitz photographed Demi Moore, for the front cover of Vanity Fair magazine, maternity photographs have become increasingly popular. Undoubtedly this photo gave birth to the modern maternity portrait

 
 

The supermodel swelled with pride as she showed off her seven-month belly (filled with son Presley) in the June 1999 issue of W. Cindy Crawford was originally slated to wear a gown, but she apparently didn’t look pregnant enough in it. Problem solved. Photo: Michael Thompson

 
 

It’s only fitting that Brooke Shields was Vogue‘s first visibly pregnant cover model. After all, she’d also been the fashion bible’s youngest cover model back in 1980, when she was 14. She was 37 and eight months along with daughter Rowan on the April 2003 issue, on which she sported a sheer, soaking-wet Krizia gown.Photo: Annie Leibovitz

 
 

The Italian bombshell — best known to American audiences for her work in The Matrix Reloaded — had more than vanity in mind when she posed nude for the cover of a 2004 edition of Vanity Fair: The wife of French actor Vincent Cassel reportedly disrobed to protest Italy’s laws against the use of donor sperm. Nicely done, Monica. Photo: Fabrizio Ferri

 
 

Vanity Fair Italy, March 2010. Photo by Tyen

 
 

Six months pregnant with second son Jayden James, the then-spiraling pop star Britney Spears disrobed for the August 2006 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Necklace: Louis Vuitton. Photo: Alexi Lubomirki

 
 

November 2006 issue of Britain’s Q magazine. In the interview, Britney revealed she was craving ice (and evidently lollipops). Photo: James Dimmock

 
 

Milla Jovovich gnawed on that gauzy curtain for a good cause. Her 2007 shoot for Jane magazine benefited charity. Soon after, she gave birth to daughter Ever Gabo with Resident Evil writer-director Paul William Scott Anderson.

 
 

Christina Aguilera was nearly done baking son Max when she ditched her duds (but not her Louboutins or hair dye) for the January 2008 issue of Marie Claire. Photo: Ruven Afanador

 
 

Known for her sometimes outrageous red carpet poses, Paula Patton looked perfectly goddess-like draped in nude chiffon with curly hair and natural make-up on the May 2010 cover of Ebony. And the magazine happened to hit stands after the actress, who’s married to R&B crooner Robin Thicke, gave birth to son Julian Fuego

 
 

Dem babies, as Mariah Carey affectionately nicknamed still-gestating twins Moroccan and Monroe, kicked at their mom’s belly through most of her photo shoot for the April 18, 2011, issue of Life & Style. We assume they were kicking in protest over this awkward pose

 
 

Proving that supermodels really are superior life forms, a shaggy-haired Claudia Schiffer was pregnant with her third child, daughter Cosima, when she stripped down for a Karl Lagerfeld-directed shoot in the June 2010 issue of German Vogue

 
 

Mrs. Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr,  was six-and-a-half months pregnant with son Flynn when she tastefully revealed all in the December 2010 issue of W. Photo by Patrick Demarchelier

 
 

The 41-year-old actress bared her soul (per the cover’s tagline) and lots more in the November 2011 issue of Ebony. She welcomed her second son, Kez, that same month. “The medical [profession] tries to tell every woman, ‘Have your babies before 40 because you shouldn’t have children after 40. Society tells us, ‘Get married before 30, because no man wants a woman after 30.’ You are not half the woman you’re gonna be until you turn 30. You’re not even half of that woman yet. So I think if we’d just take our time as women, and do what comes natural to us and for us, we would make fewer mistakes.”

 
 

The latest star to go au naturel, Jessica undressed for the April 2012 issue of Elle and revealed she’s expecting a girl with fiancé Eric Johnson. Photo: Carter Smith. Styled by Joe Zee