In Palo Alto, navy blue skies give way to a pinky-gold haze. A familiar voice comes through on speakerphone. “You sent that unbelievable ice cream we’ve been cheating our diets on all weekend.” It’s fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi direct from his bedroom in NYC, effervescent as all get-out. Last week, I FedExed him a taste of the Bay Area—six pints of his favorite dessert via Humphry Slocombe—ahead of the West Coast premiere of his new cabaret show, Movie Stars and Supermodels (March 28 at the Oshman Family JCC, paloaltojcc.org). Read on to wake up with the designer-turned-performer.
MOVIE STARS AND SUPERMODELS OPENS AT THE LEGENDARY CAFÉ CARLYLE TOMORROW.
I’m feeling so great about it, I can’t even tell you. It’s like a dream. At first, I was a little apologetic about it, like who’s going to believe a fashion designer can sing? But now, I just love it so much, and I do it with no preamble and no apology. I sang to myself in the shower just now, this Stephen Sondheim song called “One More Kiss.” It’s in my show.
TELL US MORE ABOUT WHAT INSPIRED THE SHOW.
When you make couture dresses for people and you have a talk show, you end up just meeting everybody. I decided a really good show would be to do a collection of my favorite stories. Also, I don’t know what sells tickets more than movie stars and supermodels—so maybe it’s a desperate ploy to sell tickets. [Laughs.]
DO YOU HAVE ANY CURRENT GUILTY PLEASURES—PERHAPS AN APP OR AN INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT?
Forget about apps and Instagram, honey. I watch a lot of ridiculous television that is intended for no one to watch, like reruns of sitcoms from the eighties and nineties. Hours of Golden Girls repeats. Hours of The King of Queens. I can’t get enough of The King of Queens; that is the best show in the world, are you kidding me? That’s what I do to fall asleep.
DO YOU HAVE A MOTTO?
I have this tenet that I follow, which is you should only do things that are really scary.
IF YOU WERE TO COME BACK AS A PERSON OR A THING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
What if I came back as Cardi B? Wouldn’t that be that so exciting? Only be- cause she has the craziest existence—it’s almost like she doesn’t really exist, except for the insane social representation. She just stays in bed until there’s some kind of Instagram post to be made, you know? It could be fun to experiment with that for a minute.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS AN ITEM OF CLOTHING EVERYONE SHOULD OWN?
In this day and age when we don’t judge people’s bodies, I wish that people could stop judging flats. Consider, one night, wear- ing a dressy flat—like a jeweled flat or a patent leather flat with a bow. I think it’s time for dressy flats. I mean it.
WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU COULD NEVER LIVE WITHOUT?
My television. This diamond ring I have. I got it on the advice of an Ayurvedic astrologer who told me my life would get better if I wore it—and he was right. I wear it almost as an amulet, like a protection against things. My bed.
IF YOU COULD WAKE UP TOMORROW HAVING GAINED ANY QUALITY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
An indestructible ego, like those Hollywood movie stars. They learn to ignore things that don’t please them, and I wish I could be a little bit more delusional that way. Nothing escapes me, and I’m al- ways so critical of myself to the point where it’s al- most debilitating. The only way you get somewhere is if you persist, and I think persistence requires a kind of indestructible ego.
YOU’VE DONE THE NYT CROSSWORD EVE- RY DAY SINCE HIGHSCHOOL. TODAY’S CROSSWORD: SIX LETTERS . THE CLUE IS “TUNE.”
Is it melody? I haven’t looked at it yet today. Can I just say something? Monday’s crossword is demoralizingly easy. I love a Friday and Saturday, those days are genius. I remember Steve Sondheim said to me once, “Oh, darling, Mondays and Tuesdays, you either do the across or the down clues—but not both.”
ANY LAST WORDS ABOUT YOUR SHOW IN PALO ALTO?
The show rarely gets to that part of the country. I, by the way, love the West Coast. The East Coast and the West Coast share politics, they share culture … it’s a different laidback attitude, but I really like it there. I just think it’ll be a really, really fun show. And listen … thanks for the ice cream. Thank you. I love it. You’re trying my diet, but I’ll take it—really.