What do a Hollywood soundstage, a rain machine, and a golf cart have in common? Isaac Mizrahi. Today the designer proved, yet again, that he is New York fashion's consummate showman (live or taped).
Mizrahi has always loved to expose the behind-the-scenes action with his theatrics (cue Unzipped) and with his clothes (remember the corset dresses on the cover of Vogue, March 1998?)—and for Spring he unveiled raw edges, hints of deconstruction, and jackets with unfinished lapels in his let's-put-on-a-show. Despite the rain and the appearance of a Gene Kelly umbrella, the production was titled Astaire Case or Obstacle Course, and the menswear-ish elements were informed by fifties-era Fred, Mizrahi said. It was the eveningwear, with hints of postwar Charles James, though, that stole the show. Sequined minidresses might be suitable for dancing the night away and a hirsute tinsel coat might be just right for a premiere, but the spotlight rested on the pieces with airiness and flou: the tulles that looked like they hadn't been sewn but just wrapped about the body, the floaty watercolor chiffons, the chic black and white numbers destined for Palm Beach.
Mizrahi described the collection as an evolution from his Elsa Schiaparelli-inflected Fall outing, and indeed there were subtle tributes to "that Italian artist who makes clothes" in a Lucite lobster appendage and cardboard hats. But the real link between the seasons was the designer's perennial enthusiasm: "I still believe," Mizrahi said, "that fashion has to be gorgeous and colorful and fun." That's entertainment.