Today was a Top 5 day -- one of those priceless gifts from the universe. Even simple sensations felt both monumental and just right...each breath of fresh air, the sight of flowers in every planter, the feel of light wind on my arm, the sound of different languages and snatches of casual conversation...Spring. The Callery pears were in full bloom, the sun was shining, and New Yorkers all around were smiling. It was a great day to be outside, yet when I noticed a sign for the Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History exhibit (open until August 7) in front of The Jewish Museum, in I went.
If I'd left after seeing this wall, I'd have departed happy. Mizrahi considers himself a "keeper of colors" and this floor-to-ceiling display is a mere sample of his extensive swatches collection.
The wall beautifully foreshadowed a wildly colorful show that celebrated the designer's exuberance and endless creativity. It was personal in many ways. Even as I appreciated Mizrahi's talent, I imagined wearing the clothes. Where would I go in that dress, would it make me feel sassy, bold, happy, confident, more open, more free?
The exhibit was a sensual extravaganza. A room of beautifully-designed outfits in riotous color that clashed yet matched. Lines between casual, formal, spring, fall, daily habit and special occasion didn't exist or matter. An area with a floor-to-ceiling display of Mizrahi's drawings reinforced the sense that there was no end to his ideas.
Just as I began to acclimate to all the color, the show switched. Now, a display of outfits in muted colors where texture and materials starred. Shiny stuff, leather, great use of feathers, and my favorite -- a gown made from an elevator blanket. I want that one.
Back on Fifth Avenue an hour later, I marveled again at the day, yet with an extra buoyancy. That's what art does for me -- enhances and enlarges my life. Sometimes I think more critically, connect more personally someone else's joy or pain, learn about the past, marvel at talent, get outside myself after focusing on a piece or art or enjoying a whole exhibit.
Isaac Mizrahi's show made me feel happy. Like being outside on a spring day.