Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi

One thing fashion has in common with Hollywood is the idea of a "knock-off," or copycat. Well, Isaac's clothing designs may be very original, but his new show, The Fashion Show, is a knock-off of Project Runway, a show in which fashion designers compete to come up with the coolest clothes.

Speaking of which, Target has some really cool clothes. And Isaac was the guy responsible for designing a lot of them. He's a natural when it comes to designing clothes-- he started as a teenager, when he made clothes for his own mother to wear. He even remembers her wearing one of his own designs on Rosh Hashanah one year!

Now, he's going to design clothes for the Liz Claiborne line. He's even won an award for the costumes he's designed for plays and operas.

Wait... what's a clothing designer doing in a list of Jewish movie stars? Well, he is so interesting, they made a documentary about him! It's called Unzipped. (One of the fashion models in it is named Shalom Harlow, but she's not Jewish! Her parents just liked the sound of the word.) He's also going to be in a documentary about blue jeans called Blue Gold. Did you know that jeans were co-invented by a Jewish businessman named Levi Strauss? Yep, that's why they are called "Levi's!"

Also, he's acted in the Woody Allen movies Hollywood Ending, Celebrity, and Small Time Crooks with Jon Lovitz  and Michael Rapaport. Plus he was in the great musical Fame and in an episode of Frasier.

As himself, he was in episodes of fashion-obsessed shows Gossip Girl, Ugly Betty (as a reporter) and Sex and the City with Sarah Jessica Parker... and on everything from sitcoms (Spin City with Richard Kind) to game shows (Hollywood Squares) to reality shows (The Apprentice and #1 Single with Lisa Loeb.) He also narrated a production of Peter and the Wolf.

He was also on the trivia-obsessed show Jeopardy! He made it to the semi-finals but didn't win. Still, that's pretty impressive!

Isaac also has had two shows of his own, called Isaac and The Isaac Mizrahi Show... and has interviewed celebs on the red carpet at the Oscars and Golden Globe Awards. He's even written a comic book about a supermodel!

Isaac spent his first 8 years of school at a yeshiva, and when he started high school, he went to a school that specialized in the arts. Isaac is a very active Jew, and he gives a lot of money to Jewish charities.

Hey-- don't try this at home: Isaac was so determined to grow up and be an artist that he was obsessed even as a kid. He says that he used to steal a few dollars from his parents every day, and spend it on fabrics and feathers so he could go home and make puppets and other works of art!

Bonus:

Fashion is a very Jew-ful industry! One Jewish designer who was just in the news was Ikram Goldberg. He designed the clothes Michelle Obama wore to the Inauguration when her husband Barack became president!

Other Jewish fashion greats include Kenneth Cole, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors (one of the judges on Project Runway), Ralph "Polo" Lauren, Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, Donna Karan (the "DK" in "DKNY"), Calvin Klein, Zac Pozen, Diane von Furstenberg, and Stella McCartney.

By the way, if you recognize Stella's last name... her dad is Paul McCartney of, yes, The Beatles! Paul's first wife, Stella's mom, was Linda Eastman; she was Jewish. (Although she was a great photographer, Linda was not related to the Eastman-Kodak camera-making family!)

Bonus Bonus:

"Mizrahi", Isaac's last name, is the Hebrew word for "Eastern," as in Middle Eastern. Mizrahi Jews'  main language tends to be Hebrew.

Other Jews are from Europe and are called Ashkenazi. Their language is a mix of Hebrew and German (plus bits of Eastern European languages) called Yiddish.

Still other Jews started in Spain and Portugal, then spread around the Mediterranean Sea and the rest of Europe, after being expelled during the Spanish Inquisition. They are known as known as Sephardi, and their language is Ladino, a mix of Hebrew and Spanish.

But most Jews can really be considered Mizrahi in the long run, as we came from Araham and Sarah, who lived-- of course-- in the ancient Middle East.

To learn about Mizrachi music, read about Noa and Zehava Ben.

» Read more about Isaac!

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