Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lucky Liz: Isaac Mizrahi Makes Over the Iconic Brand

(I posted the above for the photos so you can see Mizrahi's looks for Liz Claiborne!)
I don’t think I’ve ever bought any of Isaac Mizrahi’s line for Target before
—his first foray into clothing at a lower price point for a mass merchandiser. I do think I would buy Isaac Mizrahi’s line for Liz Claiborne, though. Once again Mizrahi shines in the classic sportswear genre. He masterfully combines a number of eras in his looks—fifties Americana, sixties mod, eighties silhouettes—and combines them wonderfully for today. Bright, cheerful colors, sleek metallic accessories, mixing and matching, and tailored fits provide the necessary updates to his looks to prevent anything from looking too old-timey.

Mizrahi incorporates the true staples of a woman’s wardrobe in his first collection for Claiborne: a classic belted cardigan, fluid wide-leg pants, a tailored safari shirtdress, a sweet strapless party frock, a bateau-neck dress, sharp blazers, Bermuda shorts, a tie-neck blouse, a classic mackintosh coat and a satchel or two thrown in.

His cheeky "Colormath" philosophy on the website shows goof-proof ways to wear some of his looks—whether you mix one gingham piece with a neutral outfit or do the full-out shebang—head-to-toe gingham outfit with brightly colored accessories to boot.

Of course, his looks for Liz Claiborne run the more conservative route, and that’s OK. After all, Claiborne’s customers probably aren’t looking for cutting-edge harem pants or ripped white boyfriend jeans.

I speak with a (tiny) bit of authority on Liz Claiborne as I used to sell that line when I worked at Marshall Field’s (now Macy’s). Claiborne’s looks were always strong; dependable. Year-round you could find the pleated khakis in navy, khaki and white, the T-shirts were always stacked neatly on a fixture near the aisle and you’d always know to look for the non-wrinkle dress shirts (which changed colors with the seasons, of course). I cannot say that I ever contemplated purchasing any of Liz Claiborne’s clothing—as a college student her pieces just seemed way too old. Blouses and dresses were typically boxy and pleated khakis?! For shame.

But I like Mizrahi’s fresh perspective for Claiborne. Sure, it’s a little on the safe side—a gingham cardigan, high-heel loafers and a floral shirtdress are, admittedly, looks we’ve seen before. But I’ve often read (and seen) that when the economy goes awry, we turn toward “safer,” classic looks. Looks we can wear a long time. Hey, not having to buy clothing for a while always helps … well, not buying clothes for a while in an ideal world, right? ;)

Liz Claiborne is available at Boston Store, 215 West Towne Mall (I checked!). 833-9799.

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