ISAAC MIZRAHI, fashion's hottest young designer, combines luxury fabrics with sportswear styles for a relaxed, elegant look that's been making news since he started in business only one year ago. The Brooklyn-born designer's ideas on runway beauty are also newsworthy: Mizrahi's models wear false eyelashes and beehive hairdos that he insists are not '60s flashbacks but are instead "utterly natural."
The 27-year-old designer doesn't see a contradiction between faux lashes and natural beauty. "When false eyelashes are all a woman wears on her face, they simply enhance her features. They call attention to her eyes, which are usually the most beautiful part of the face. They're far less unnatural looking than gobs of black mascara that smudge."
Mizrahi, whose spring collection drew more than 500 to I. Magnin, Beverly Hills, last month when his line made its L.A. debut, says makeup and hair should not be "studied and precise, the way they look in cosmetics ads." He likens the upsweeps he favors to the way a woman's hair looks "when she just piles it on top of her head to get it out of the way, as if she took an eggbeater to it."
Mizrahi's models wear smooth, but obviously back-combed, hair styles, usually with the crown sculpted into a slightly back-tilting cone. Some of his mannequins wear their hair pulled off the neck; others tease only the crown, leaving the back straight with flipped-up ends.
"The Miz," as he has been dubbed in fashion trades, says colorful makeup is passe. "I don't want to see makeup on a woman's face. No blush, no artificial contour powders, no frosted lid color. That's what makes a woman look old." Instead, his models have flawless complexions dusted with a bit of translucent powder to eliminate shine. "Most women don't need foundation," he says. "They've just been convinced that they do. I'd much rather see the character in a woman's face."
For the same reason, the designer discourages cosmetic surgery, urging women to appreciate the individuality that comes with age. "When a woman's face reveals something about her past, she becomes more interesting. I like a face to show its lines. There is nothing mysterious about perfection."
But when it comes to bodies, Mizrahi is less accepting. He acknowledges that his signature baggy "sack" pants, oversize kimono jackets and loose gowns will fit all body types, but, unlike some designers who are starting to use curvaceous models, Mizrahi prefers mannequins who are "very skinny, gamine types."
Will the Mizrahi look in beauty influence hair and makeup trends as much as his colorful, comfortable clothes are expected to change the course of fashion? Mizrahi says he doesn't care. "There should be no trends in beauty. Each woman has her own form of beauty. Her makeup and hair should complement just her and, of course, her clothes."