By Allison Zisko
It may be coincidence that fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi will move into a new home at about the same time he unveils his new home collection, but the timing couldn’t have been better. The designer said he thinks about home all the time, but never more so than when he started developing the tabletop portion of his new home collection and started envisioning his new kitchen cabinets and all the additional space he would have for more dinnerware.
That same enthusiasm spilled over to the rest of the Isaac Mizrahi New York Home line, which encompasses tabletop, textiles and housewares and will begin debuting at trade shows next month and launch at retail in the fall. Each piece in the lifestyle collection is meant to work as a foundation, “a necessary item, a stylish item, that dictates the rest of what you buy,” Mizrahi told HFN. But it should also work with everything else in the room, he continued, whether it’s the first piece or the last piece you buy. Mizrahi, who has nearly three decades of fashion design expertise, likened the concept to having a black cashmere sweater in your wardrobe – a beautiful staple that works well with everything.
Mizrahi’s home collection promises to go way beyond basic black, however. Mizrahi’s design sensibility is all about color, and the collection promises to offer “a happy perspective on color,” according to Mizrahi, who believes that bright, happy colors have a positive effect on mood. Mizrahi also said he likes giant flowers, high texture and mixed prints, such as the pairing of animal prints with florals.
Mizrahi applies his fashion know-how to all the products he works on. “The fashion element comes from years of me lying in wait for a certain idea to come to fruition,” he said.
Vendors involved in the program, excited to be working with the designer and the chance to reach potential new customers, were happy to oblige.
Xcel Brands, Inc. recently acquired the rights to the Isaac Mizrahi brand and late last year signed exclusive license agreements with Gibson Overseas for dinnerware, glassware, flatware, cookware and bakeware; Benson Mills for table linens; Jay Franco & Sons for bedding, bath and accessories; Isaac Jacobs International for picture frames; and Regal Home for window treatments. The two-tiered program will target better and best department stores, according to Robert D’Loren, chairman and CEO of Xcel, who described the fashion designer as “a creative genius and a media star.” Mizrahi’s program with QVC will continue.
D’Loren told HFN, “Home is something I am passionate about. I’m excited to work with Isaac on it.” The home collection is part of a broader licensing effort that will include footwear, handbags, accessories and jewelry next fall, and denim, sportswear, outerwear and other apparel in spring 2013. Mizrahi is creative director for Xcel Brands.
The home licensees were happy about their new venture with the designer. Sal Gabbay, president of Gibson Overseas said, “We’re thrilled to be working with Xcel, uniting our expertise across all tabletop and housewares categories with the Isaac Mizrahi brand. Combining our perspectives on style and value makes this a truly exciting license partnership.”
Gibson is developing product for all tabletop categories and will launch many of them at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago next month. Dinnerware will be available in basic as well as high-end assortments, in both large compositions and 16-piece sets. Programs will include solid colors, reactive glazes, and decorated and pad prints, with complementary glassware and accent pieces. Flatware, cutlery, cookware, bakeware and gadgets will also be part of the mix.
Tabletop was a joy to work on, Mizrahi said. Adept at textiles after designing them for so many years, Mizrahi was invigorated by the opportunity to be involved with a new category. It also touched him personally, he said, as he envisioned the kitchen in his new home and the dinnerware he hopes to fill it with. “Tabletop is such a thrill,” he said. “It’s almost like a new toy to me.”
Mizrahi’s sense of style and bold use of color will bring a unique viewpoint to the window treatment category, said Cathy Carroll, director of product development and marketing for Regal Home Collections, which will offer three categories of window treatments during the New York Home Fashions Market Week in March. They include Timeless Classics, which will focus on Mizrahi’s use of iconic patterns with a cosmopolitan twist; Luxe Decor, which is all about adding a hint of shine and sparkle to the window; and Isaac Essentials, which will center around Mizrahi’s love of color and the layering of fabrics.
Jay Franco is developing the bedding, bath and beach collection, which has been in previews since January and will be officially introduced to the market during Home Fashions Market Week. Marketing director Judi Alexander described the collection as transitional, “classic style with a twist.” The bedding will be shown as duvets as well as comforter sets and each design group has a “plus one” fabrication, such as prints on jacquards, wovens, textures and dressmaker details. The bath accessories will include lacquer, porcelain and glass.
“We have been working with all the other licensees to create a collection that reflects Isaac’s personal sense of style,” Alexander said. “The collections are designed to live together in a room; favorite things collected over a lifetime that somehow all work together. Isaac is helping them to create that look in their home.”
This lifestyle concept will be important to the success of the line, Mizrahi said. All the pieces come together and work better because they are part of a group. “It makes it exciting for me, and I think exciting for the consumer,” he said. – David Gill contributed to this story.
Isaac Mizrahi Licensees
Gibson Overseas: dinnerware, glassware, cookware, bakeware, flatware and gadgets
Benson Mills: table linens
Isaac Jacobs International: picture frames
Jay Franco: bed and bath
Regal Home: window treatments