Opening this week at the Jewish Museum in New York, Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History is the first major exhibition to focus on the influential American fashion designer, artist and entrepreneur. Pentagram has designed Isaac Mizrahi, a new book that accompanies the show and is the first comprehensive monograph of the designer’s career, from his debut fashion collection in 1986 to his recent work in film, television and the performing arts.
Pentagram worked closely on the design of the book with Mizrahi and Chee Pearlman, the curator of the exhibition and editor of the book. Mizrahi pioneered the concept of “high and low” in fashion, and his work explores ideas of modern glamour, appropriation, performance and storytelling. The book’s design creates an elegant framework for this wide-ranging sensibility, showing off a collection of garments that are simultaneously smart and gorgeous, and that frequently incorporate vibrant color, intricate patterns and found imagery.
Mizrahi’s designs are illustrated with newly commissioned photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg, with many of the clothes documented for the first time. The large-format images highlight Mizrahi's exquisite craftsmanship and attention to materials, juxtaposing lush close-ups of the garments with photographs of the complete designs on mannequins like those seen in the exhibition. Mizrahi’s beautiful original drawings and sketches are also integrated into the flow of the book, giving insight into his creative process and the finished result.
The cover features a hand-painted coat with Baccarat crystal buttons that epitomizes Mizrahi’s playful approach and witty use of materials. The title is debossed on the cover for a sense of tactility, and the fore-edges of the pages are printed the same shade of green as the coat, hinting at the designer’s sophisticated use of color. The endpapers feature detailed images of patterns from the garments.
The book includes a new interview with Mizrahi, as well as three essays that explore his place in fashion history, his close connection to contemporary art, and the performative nature of his designs. The typography is set in Aperçu, which is designed by Solomonoff Architecture Studio and was utilized in the graphics for the exhibition.