From 1989 to 1993, New York fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi granted the British photographer Nick Waplington rare backstage access to photograph every detail of the designer’s fitting sessions in the weeks before his twice-yearly fashion shows. Combining Waplington’s gritty vérité style with Mizrahi’s haute couture sensibilities, the resulting images offer a candid glimpse into the world of fashion when supermodels including Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell reigned supreme. At the same time, Waplington set out to document the wildly creative nightlife of the ’90s “club kid” culture in New York, juxtaposing his images of uptown style with downtown looks and taking pictures at some of the city’s most infamous clubs, such as the Pyramid Club and Save the Robots.
Like Waplington’s McQueen exhibition at the Tate Britain last year – the museum’s first-ever solo show by a photographer – the book is studded with other subjects to keep it from being purely biographical… with Mizrahi, it’s Waplington’s diary of the ’90s club scene.
“It was a very fun time to be in his studio,” Nick said, according to the New York Times. “This was before cellphones, so various boyfriends of the models would call up on the office phone and they’d put them on speakerphone and have these funny, piss-taking conversations with them without them knowing that everyone was listening. This would happen with Spike Lee quite a lot when he was dating Veronica Webb.”
Artist and photographer Nick Waplington (born 1970) has published several monographs, including Living Room and The Wedding (Aperture), Safety in Numbers (Booth Clibborn), Truth or Consequences (Phaidon) and Alexander McQueen: Working Process (Damiani). He lives in London and New York.
Isaac Mizrahi (born 1961) has been a leader in the fashion industry for almost 30 years. In 1995 he was the subject of the award-winning documentary, Unzipped. In 2003 Mizrahi pioneered the concept of merging high design with mass retail in partnership with Target. He has designed costumes for the New York Metropolitan Opera, the American Ballet Theater and the San Francisco Ballet. Mizrahi is the author of How to Have Style and has been head judge on Lifetime’s Project Runway: All Stars.
All in all, this monograph offers a fascinating snapshot of an adventurous era known for its bubblegum-colored clothes, oversize platform shoes, and fizzy part scene.
And do note this: Images from The Isaac Mizrahi Pictures will be included in the exhibition ‘Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History’, at the Jewish Museum in New York City from March 18 to August 7, 2016.