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Isaac Mizrahi’s Next Act

Article by Frank DiLella 03.15.2019

During his nearly 30-year career, Brooklyn-born Isaac Mizrahi has been a fashion and costume designer, a TV producer, a talk show host and, occasionally, a cabaret star. As he wraps up a tour of his latest one-man show, “Isaac Mizrahi: Queen Size,” and releases his autobiography, “I.M.: A Memoir,” the irreverent Renaissance man talks life, loves and dinner parties.

Who’s your ideal seatmate on a long plane ride?

My husband. He’s so funny and he’s endlessly interesting.

What three things do you always take with you when traveling?

Xanax, my black cashmere shawl and the computer bridge program on my phone.

Describe the most memorable trip you’ve taken in the past year?

To Vienna, where I had never been before. It was sublimely interesting. I was with my husband and it was beautiful and museum-y.

What five iconic people would be at your dream dinner party?

[Dancer and choreographer] Mark Morris, Mark Twain, Burt Bacharach, [ballet impresario] Sergei Diaghilev and Edgar Degas. Why? Because music and laughter are most important at a dinner party, and all of these people are very, very funny.

And what are you serving?

Dessert first. Pistachio semifreddo. Then we’ll go backwards. Lobster rolls and then pigs in blankets — and martinis too!

What’s your favorite word?


Worst job you’ve ever had?

I was a box boy for one day at my uncle’s retail store — a discount health and beauty aid store — when I was 12. I moved boxes around. It was terrible.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading “The Charterhouse of Parma” while on a break between reading volumes two and three of Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past,” because Proust said it was the greatest novel ever written.

What’s the most played song on your phone?

Dionne Warwick’s “I Say a Little Prayer.” It’s a really elegant track and I think she did the best version of it.

What song title best describes you?

“A Quiet Thing” by Kander and Ebb. It was written for the show “Flora the Red Menace.” It really does say everything. The idea that happiness is very quiet. Happiness comes in on tiptoes.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Skinny Cow ice cream bars because they’re four points on Weight Watchers, so I eat five of them.

Who would play you in your film biopic?

Charlize Theron.

What does no one know about Isaac Mizrahi?

That I’m obsessed with insects. I love their colors and textures.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

To not listen to advice! 


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