Book List of the Week

Tables Made of Books: Isaac Mizrahi’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter April 18, 2011
Isaac Mizrahi




Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi: Isaac Mizrahi New York (New York)

book list

Isaac Mizrahi sent us a list of books every bit as colorful, compelling, and eclectically inspired as the clothes he designs and the life he lives. While perhaps best known for the clothes and accessories in his many fashion collections, his activities and range of interests include acting in films and on television programs; designing costumes for Broadway shows, the Metropolitan Opera, and ballets; writing—from comic books to style guides; hosting “Watch Isaac,” his daily web series; and appearing regularly on “Isaac Mizrahi Live!” on the QVC Network.

On his list are 19th- and 20th-century novels, a biography, travel books and, a book on an Italian poet and style icon (Gabriele D’Annunzio)—enough books when stacked to make a table out of, which Mizrahi claims (perhaps only half-jokingly) to have done.

“Books are probably the most inspiring objects in my life,” says Mizrahi. A book of Avedon photographs given to him by his sister on his 16th birthday seems to have presaged his opportunity to later work with the photographer; a copy of Mariano Fortuny: His Life and Work by Guillermo de Osma was given to him by Perry Ellis. And given his lifelong passion for vibrant color (he is, after all, known for saying, “Pink is the new black”!), is it any wonder that Mizrahi’s list includes Maira Kalman’s What Pete Ate—the story of a dog who consumes colorful objects from A to Z?

Mizrahi tells us that he’s currently reading Stoner, John Williams’s novel about a man who loves literature, published in 1965 and most recently reprinted in 2007. In one scene, the main character, while a university student, finds himself in a class being asked to explain Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 73.” (Shakespeare’s Sonnets are on Mizrahi’s book list.) According to Mizrahi, Stoner is “the most uplifting depressing book ever written.”

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