cover image I.M.: A Memoir

I.M.: A Memoir

Isaac Mizrahi. Flatiron, $28.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-07408-9

Fashion designer Mizrahi reveals the many layers of his exceptional life in this witty, intelligent memoir. Mizrahi grew up in Brooklyn in a Syrian Jewish Orthodox family, and at an early age began designing Barbie doll wardrobes; at age 11, he opened his own atelier in his parents’ basement. While attending LaGuardia High School for Performing Arts, Mizrahi began selling pieces of his first fashion collection to such tony boutiques as Manhattan’s Charivari. After graduating from Parsons School of Design, Mizrahi worked with noted designers Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein, and rubbed elbows with fashion luminaries including Audrey Hepburn and Vogue’s Anna Wintour. In luminous prose, Mizrahi chronicles not only the glamour—Liza Minnelli’s wedding (she had four dress changes that “I hoped no one mistook any of them for mine”) and nights at Studio 54—but also the low points of his life, such as his father’s death and his own depression (“no matter how wonderful things are going, a lot of dark thinking manages to take hold”). Loving descriptions of vintage fabric charm, as do earnest moments, such as meeting his future husband, Arnold, in 2001 (“Aside from the great physical attraction, we were very honest with each other at all times”). This is a must-read for fashion fanatics. (Feb.)