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Isaac Mizrahi Biography

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Birth Name: Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi was born on Oct. 14, 1961 in Brooklyn, NY and was raised in a conservative Jewish household in Ocean Parkway, NJ. He developed an interest in design at an early age, thanks in part to a father who worked as a clothing manufacturer, and a fashionable mother, who often took Mizrahi while she shopped at Manhattan's trendiest boutiques. He started making clothes shortly after his tenth birthday when he received a sewing machine from his father. Mizrahi spent much of his youth making clothes for the puppet shows that he staged in their backyard, and also for his mother's friends. Mizrahi attended a private Jewish school, but because he could not adhere to the school's conservative rules, he left and enrolled at New York's High School for the Performing Arts. While studying drama, music and dance, Mizrahi soon realized that fashion design was his true passion, so enrolled at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

During his junior year at Parsons, Mizrahi started working for the famed designer, Perry Ellis, and then later for Jeffrey Banks and Calvin Klein. In 1987, Mizrahi launched his own business and held his first trunk show at Bergdorf Goodman. The fashion press went wild over Mizrahi's line of simple yet glamorous clothes, as well as the clever way he mixed unusual colors and patterns. Mizrahi became an overnight sensation, drew sales orders from high-end retailers, and started winning accolades, such as the Best Newcomer award in 1988 and the Best Women's Designer award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In 1992, the Chanel fashion house bought a stake in Mizrahi's company and bankrolled its operations. So enamored was the fashion world and Hollywood with Mizrahi, that he starred in the 1995 documentary "Unzipped," which offered a hilarious yet revealing look at his life and the days leading up to his fall collection. The film also introduced Mizrahi to a mainstream audience and transformed him into a celebrity. But in spite of critical acclaim, sales of Mizrahi's designs were a hit and miss, reportedly due to the designer's failure to establish a distinct look. In 1998, frustrated with dipping sales, Chanel withdrew its funding and Mizrahi was forced to shut down his company.

It was not long before Mizrahi made headlines again by launching an off-Broadway one-man show, "Les MIZrahi," in 2000. The following year, he hosted "The Isaac Mizrahi Show" (Oxygen, 2001-03), where he interviewed and doled out fashion advice to his guests and audiences. In 2002, he launched a low-priced women's clothing and accessories line for Target stores, ushering in a new era of "hi-low" fashion. Boosted by the immense success of the Target line, Mizrahi launched his lifestyle collection, ISAACMIZRAHILIVE! - an extensive line of his "favorite things" like handbags, shoes and even cheesecakes - on QVC. In 2009, the media-savvy designer found himself back in the limelight as the star of the Bravo series "The Fashion Show," where he acted both as mentor and judge to a team of aspiring designers looking for their big break. On the show, Mizrahi was an entertaining picture of contrasts - calm, practical and insightful during his initial consultations with the contestants, and then melodramatic and borderline harsh when he bid the eliminated finalist "Bah-bye darling." Mizrahi maintained his television profile by guest starring as himself on numerous trendsetting shows, including the hit series "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004), "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006-2010), and "Gossip Girl" (The CW, 2007- ).