Throughout the month of July, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art held screenings of three fashionable films, with a panel discussion directed by curator Harold Koda and guest curator Kohle Yohannan, with each featuring a special guest speaker. I attended the third screening, the 1995 documentary Unzipped, with its larger-than-life subject, designer Isaac Mizrahi, who showed up to discuss the state of fashion, and the Model As Muse, this year’s theme, complete with cantaloupe painted toenails.
From feeling up Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet at the 2006 Golden Globes, to hosting The Fashion Show on Bravo, these days, Isaac Mizrahi is known as much for his exuberance and celebrity as he is for his designs, but in 1995, Mizrahi had recently begun to lay down the framework for his iconic career, having recently started his own company. Following poor reviews of his Spring 1994 collection, Unzipped tails Mizrahi as he stresses over his recent failure, finds his latest inspiration in the sub zero, inuit style present in the classic films Nanook of The North and Call Of The Wild, and moves forward to create his next season and runway show. Directed by Douglas Keeve, his boyfriend at the time, we get to see a full spectrum of Isaac’s charictaristically unguarded state, while he converses with his mother, celebrity friends such as Eartha Kitt and Sandra Berhnard, does fittings with 90’s era supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Kate Moss, meets with his staff, and gets advice from fashion magazine luminaries Ingrid Sischy and Polly Mellen.
I was immediately taken by Isaac in this film, by both his creative process and personality, and less than 20 minutes in, after this scene with the legendary Eartha Kitt, I knew I’d be watching this movie again. (Um, three times already, thanks to Netflix!) I highly recommend it to any current fans of Isaac, or anyone even vaguely interested in fashion. Check out screencaps in the gallery following the clip below.
- Eartha Kitt R.I.P.
- YSL’s Infatuation With The “Big 6” Super Models
- New On Bravo: The Fashion Show
- I Wear My Sunglasses At Night . . .
- M.I.S.S. NYFW: Isaac Mizrahi Spring 2010