Isaac Mizrahi has been fascinating the public on-screen, onstage, and, most notoriously, on the runways since he launched his eponymous collection in 1987. But unlike many of his compatriots, Mizrahi never takes himself, or his work, too seriously. He was among the first mainstream designers to host his own talk show, publish his own comic books, produce and direct both musicals and opera, trot out collections for retailers such as Target and QVC, and lend his design talents to theater, film, and dance productions. And there was also the unforgettable 1995 documentary Unzipped, which followed Mizrahi as he concocted and produced his fall ’94 collection. In 2019, he published I.M.: A Memoir. Next up: a four-day engagement at 54 Below, in New York, where he will perform cabaret. Herewith, he reveals his key components to the good life. —Ashley Baker
App: I adore Moon, which shows the phases of the moon. As I write this, it’s waxing gibbous!
Bag: L. L. Bean Boat and Tote. I have mine monogrammed. I still use the first one I ever got, when I was 16. It has navy trim. Manolo Blahnik got me one with green trim about 30 years ago, and I still use it!
BIKE: I adore the low-tech stationary bike I have in my guest room. I got it when I was a teenager and have kept it since. Such a simple machine. So much better—and less bossy than—a Peloton.
Breakfast food: Any laminated pastry from Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery, in New York, especially the one that’s filled with Gruyère cheese. Or a glazed doughnut from Krispy Kreme …
BREAKFAST ROOM: Gritti Palace, in Venice, looking across the canal at the Duomo.
Car: A Mini Cooper convertible. It’s the only car I can park.
Cocktail: Campari and soda. It takes the edge off without leaving you drunk.
Cocktail Appetizer: Mixed roasted nuts at Union Square Cafe.
Diet: A combination of Weight Watchers and intermittent fasting.
Dinner: I care more about dessert, in particular ice cream. Almost any flavor, but the best is my own recipe for rum–cherry–chocolate chip.
Disguise: In a bucket hat and sunglasses, everyone looks like Greta Garbo.
Dress: When I think of dresses, I think of black dresses, and when I think of black dresses, I think of Bette Davis in Now, Voyager—the plunging V-neck number that she accessorizes with a corsage of fresh white camellias.
Growing up, my mother had an amazing foolproof excuse for not talking on the phone. She would move the receiver close to a running tap and say, “I’m sorry, I can’t talk now. I’m frying.”
Flaw: I love when someone has a space between their two front teeth, as in Lauren Hutton and Michael Strayhan.
Friend: Mark Morris. Odile to my Odette.
Good-bye: My first dog, Harry, had a difficult period at the end of his long, happy life. The vet, who is a dear friend, came to our house in Bridgehampton and put him down very gently on his beloved deck, overlooking his beloved lawn. For such a difficult good-bye, it was mercifully sad and very sweet.
Hideaway: My house in Bridgehampton. I rarely have people over. It’s just my husband and my dogs. It’s not big or grand—like a shack, so easy to keep. It feels like a Disney cottage, with bluebirds and bunnies.
Hotel: We can only speak of hotels in the past tense. They’re not what they used to be. I used to love Le Bristol, in Paris. I also used to love the Balmoral, in Edinburgh. Also, the great old Mayfair Regent in Chicago.
Insult: “You are an insult to insults.”
Jacket: I got a French Foreign Legion jacket in 1989, and I adapted it for myself. I’ve been remaking and wearing it ever since.
Last Meal: Salad and ice cream.
Movie: The Red Shoes.
Nonfiction book: A History of Private Life (all volumes).
Novel: In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust.
Pet: All dogs everywhere. Especially mixed breeds.
Restaurant: Il Cantinori. It’s easy and cozy and it’s on the best block in New York, and it has really good pasta and a great ice-cream bomb tartufo. The service is perfect, and Frank, one of the proprietors, is divine.
Saying: “Brevity is the soul of wit. And lingerie.” —Dorothy Parker
SHOES: Custom alligator oxfords from John Lobb.
Storm: An amazing snow event with high winds and at least two feet of snow.
Television Series: The Golden Girls.
Work of Art: The Dan Flavin installation at Dia Beacon, which is just below a big bank of windows.