Isaac Mizrahi: Vogue Patterns

Isaac Mizrahi and Shalom Harlow photographed by Dewey Nicks for the Isaac Mizrahi Spring 1998 ad campaign
Isaac Mizrahi and Shalom Harlow in Isaac Mizrahi’s Spring 1998 ad campaign. Photo: Dewey Nicks. Image: Instagram.

Unzipped, the groundbreaking fashion film, is 25 this month.

The 1995 documentary made Isaac Mizrahi a household name. (Read more at Vogue.com.) To celebrate, here’s a look at Mizrahi’s vintage Vogue patterns.

Shalom Harlow and Amber Valetta photographed by Steven Meisel in Isaac Mizrahi formal wear on the cover of Vogue, September 1995.
Isaac Mizrahi formal wear on the cover of Vogue, September 1995. Models: Shalom Harlow and Amber Valetta. Photo: Steven Meisel. Editor: Camilla Nickerson. Image: Pinterest.
Isaac Mizrahi New York logo design by Tibor Kalman
Isaac Mizrahi label designed by Tibor Kalman. Image: Yale University Press.

Born in Brooklyn, Isaac Mizrahi (b. 1961) started licensing patterns not long after showing his first solo collection. Vogue Patterns Magazine welcomed him to the Vogue Individualist line for Holiday ’88 with two patterns shown in sorbetto brights.

"Newcomer Isaac Mizrahi: Coming on the scene in a burst of incandescent colors, this new, young talent is a natural Vogue Individualist!"
“New Comer Isaac Mizrahi,” Vogue Patterns, November/December 1988. (Vogue 2218 and 2219) Image: Etsy.

Even before Mizrahi received backing from Chanel, both Vogue and Vogue Patterns were champions of his work. This crisp Mizrahi shirtdress made the cover of the summer retail catalogue.

Vogue 2495 Vogue cat JulAug 1990
Vogue 2495 by Isaac Mizrahi on the cover of the Vogue Patterns retail catalogue, July/August 1990. Image: eBay.

Vogue included a Mizrahi jacket pattern in the spring 1991 budget-dressing editorial, “Fit to Print.” The jacket was made in a double-faced wool plaid from New York’s Felsen Fabrics.

"Fit to Print," Vogue March 1991. The suit of the younger generation, leggings and a jacket, gets a boost from bright plaids. Double-faced wool jacket, about $75. Vogue Pattern 2626. Fabric from Felsen Fabrics, NYC. Silk and Lycra leggings, about $30. Vogue Pattern 7733. Fabric from B&J Fabrics, NYC.
Vogue 2626 by Isaac Mizrahi (with V7733 leggings) in Vogue, March 1991. Model: Marielle Macville. Photo: Isabel Snyder. Editor: Elizabeth Saltzman. Image: Vogue Archive.

For Holiday ’94 — essentially the Fall-Winter ’94–95 season documented in Unzipped — Mizrahi designed what Vogue called a “mini-collection created especially for Vogue Patterns.” Several of these pieces were featured on the cover of the counter catalogue.

Vogue 1512, 1513. Vogue Patterns retail catalogue, January/February 1995
“Isaac Mizrahi for Vogue Patterns,” Vogue Patterns retail catalogue, January/February 1995. Image: eBay.

Vogue published a two-page article on the new Mizrahi patterns. The magazine had everything made up in silk lamé, wool jersey, and vinyl from B&J Fabrics.

Gold mind: After seasons of silver, Isaac Mizrahi goes for the gold with a strapless second-skin knee-length lamé cocktail dress (1, 2) and a high-shine lamé trench coat, which can stand alone as a dress or be worn as a traffic-stopping topcoat (3, 4) — evening wear King Midas would have loved. (V1512 dress and V1513 trench both in silk lamé from B&J Fabrics, NYC.)
“Cut it out!,” Vogue, December 1994. Photos: Richard J. Burbridge, Ellen von Unwerth. Image: Vogue Archive.
Vogue Dec 1994 p. 136 "Night vision: Isaac Mizrahi's golden ideas for evening chic range from a full-impact slinky floor-length gold lamé slip dress (1, 4), a flash-of-gold skinny belt on a black wool jersey shift dress (2) to a slim-cut gold lamé suit worn with a casual cotton camisole (3). Components for a high-glamour wardrobe include a tailored jacket in dramatic gold lamé (5), a streamlined knee-length wool jersey shift (6), and the techno mix of a gold spandex t-shirt with a knee-length black vinyl skirt (7).
“Cut it out!,” Vogue, December 1994. Models: Bridget Hall, Linda Evangelista, Karen Mulder. Photos: Richard J. Burbridge, Albert Watson, Ellen von Unwerth. Image: Vogue Archive.
Vogue Dec 1994 p368
Patterns – In This Issue, Vogue, December 1994. Image: Vogue Archive.

Isaac Mizrahi patterns were available through Vogue Attitudes until the later 1990s. Mizrahi graduated to Vogue’s regular designer line in 1998 — the year he shuttered his label.

Vogue 1963 (1997)
Vogue 1963 by Isaac Mizrahi (1997) Model: Maggie Giotta. Image: eBay.
Vogue 2207 (1998)
Vogue 2207 by Isaac Mizrahi (1998) Image: eBay.
1990s Isaac Mizahi cocktail or evening dress pattern Vogue 2230 - LazyGreyCollectibles on Etsy
Vogue 2230 by Isaac Mizrahi (1998) Image: Etsy.

Yet the mid-teens saw another comeback for the designer, with both a return to Vogue Patterns and a retrospective exhibition at the Jewish Museum, New York, entitled Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History.

Detail, Colourfield (Fall 2004). Isaac Mizrahi exhibition catalogue (Yale 2016)
Detail, Colorfield (Fall 2004). Chee Pearlman, with Lynn Yaeger, Kelly Taxter, and Ulrich Lehmann, Isaac Mizrahi (Yale University Press, 2016) Book design: J. Abbott Miller, Andrew Walters, Yoon-Young Chai, Pentagram. Image: Yale University Press.
(Vogue 1794)
“The American Style of Isaac Mizrahi.” Maggie Giotta in V1794, Vogue Patterns retail catalogue, June 1996. Image: eBay.

Patterns in Vogue: Shimmering Sensations

Ariane Koizumi photographed by Bert Stern in Vogue 1651 by Yves Saint Laurent and Vogue 1654 by Emanuel Ungaro, 1985
Ariane Koizumi wears Vogue patterns by Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro, Vogue, November 1985. Photo: Bert Stern.

In 1985, Bert Stern captured Ariane Koizumi in two Vogue Paris Originals, made in metallic velvet for festive evenings.

The patterns are a wrap dress by Yves Saint Laurent and tunic/skirt ensemble from Emanuel Ungaro (Vogue 1651 and Vogue 1654), both shown in silk blend panné velvet from Lafitte. (Earrings, Lecour Johnson and Pellini Bijoux; bracelets, Debra Fine Yohai and Wendy Gell Jewelry; Charles Jourdan body stocking. Shoes, Manolo Blahnik and Yves Saint Laurent.)

Paco’s post about YSL wrap dresses.

Happy new year, everyone! All the best for 2020.