His wonderfully introspective new memoir, I.M., makes clear that Mizrahi is still the same creative force of nature, just polished down and with more years under his well-crafted belt ... I.M. is as generous a memoir as I can remember. Mizrahi lays bare his struggles with body image, insomnia and relationships. He meditates on the fickle nature of the fashion industry and spills a little tea on his many celebrity friends. The book is like a classic Mizrahi design: joyful, colorful and always with a twist of the unexpected.
Here, in warm, witty and conversational prose, [Mizrahi] shares the trials of growing up in a Syrian-Jewish community in Midwood, Brooklyn, and shows us how he forged his way out to become a widely known name in the world of fashion ... While not as deeply resonating as the earlier parts of the book — it sometimes feels like Mizrahi is heeding an internal obligation to credit the many people who helped pave his path to success — [Mizrahi] does share some trenchant memories of friendships he has had across his career ... [Several passages] in I.M., [are] heart-rending, showing us how vulnerability and self-doubt mingle with the glam and glitterati of the fashion world ... Fashionistas lured to Mizrahi’s memoir hoping it reveals juicy background on the industry may be disappointed by its lack of dish. Yet I.M. more than makes up for that with its honest rendering of how the underdog Mizrahi, whose self-image and livelihood are alternately crushed and affirmed, moves through the many creative phases of his life.
Reading the cleverly titled I.M. (how deliriously fortunate, to go through life with those initials!) feels like sitting with the designer while he is in a salon chair, unspooling. For some, it might seem tedious to be the ear he practically gnaws off as he ping-pongs between memories ... But for those readers who turn to celebrity memoir for exactly this sort of breathless dish, who love a gossip column with a central character, who want to be rocketed into inaccessible inner sanctums by a denizen telling tales out of school, I.M. will land not with a thud but with a satisfying squish, a gooey hunk of cake with more than enough frosting to go around ... I.M. is a surprisingly literary work ... I.M. is a playful read, with just enough spumy effervescence to give it the texture of a bobbinet tutu. And yet there is a weight to it, a few heavy paillettes to keep the structure in place ... His book is all smooth seams, which can elicit a distinct pleasure. I do miss the ragged hems.
With the rash of current “memoirs” being nothing more that disparate journal entries, my expectations were low for this book, as much as I love Isaac Mizrahi. I was delighted to discover that this book is witty and well written, and I should have expected as much from Mizrahi, who is always entertaining and engaging ... Although he has a legion of famous friends, this book is not about name-dropping. Mizrahi is a storyteller and shares his deepest fears including his first trip to Paris and his later successful venture into mass merchandising. For every young person who fears going out into the world, Mizrahi’s memoir provides an inspiring story.
For the reader, less 'fluff' and the addition of photos or even fashion sketches might have made I.M. the perfect memoir about brilliance and creativity. If you enjoy glitterati and costumes, do not expect any photos here. But you will taste the true grit of the glamorous life in New York City from the 1960s through the present time. I.M. by Isaac Mizrahi is a long, but admirable read for fashionistas and lovers of memoirs alike.
With an amiable, conversational flow, Mizrahi shares anecdotes ranging from childhood public shaming, which heightened his self-awareness, to breakthrough moments when his appreciation of sartorial elegance became a calling ... He writes frankly about necessity, sacrifice, and the struggle between his personal life and his desire to wholly immerse himself in the fashion industry ... The key to the warmth and overall success of the memoir is Mizrahi’s unapologetic, bare-all approach as he shares the best and worst aspects of his life ... A charming and witty memoir; required reading for fashion aficionados.
Fashion designer Mizrahi reveals the many layers of his exceptional life in this witty, intelligent memoir ... In luminous prose, Mizrahi chronicles not only the glamour...but also the low points of his life ... Loving descriptions of vintage fabric charm, as do earnest moments, such as meeting his future husband, Arnold ... a must-read for fashion fanatics.