From fashion to music: Isaac Mizrahi embraces second act with performance at Carlyle Hotel

NEW YORK — The name of the singer opening Tuesday night at Manhattan’s famed Carlyle Hotel might cause you to do a double-take, because Isaac Mizrahi made his name as a fashion designer.

It turns out that his first dream was to make it as a performer.

“My eighth-grade self would’ve been surprised by the fashion part,” Mizrahi said. “Because my eighth-grade self was so needful of show business.”

Fashion was not his first love. In fact he attended the famed LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts as he grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

When asked if he blended into that neighborhood growing up, he simply replied no.

“It was a very, very funny, bad childhood,” he said. “I mean it was this kind of thing where I wasn’t just a sore thumb. I was a massive, red sore thumb.”

He noted that he imitated female singers like Barbra Streisand much to his parents’ dismay.

Now, he likes to sing, “You Can Be Happy if You Want,” but adjusting to high school was tough.

“I went from this crazy, crazy yeshiva parochial kind of background, real religious kind of background, to this place where it was just so liberal, so artistic and so sort of free,” he said. “And, it took me a minute. I was scared for the first year. I didn’t know what was happening.”

Faced with so much talent at LaGuardia, the young Mizrahi said, “It’s just gonna be really hard for me to get cast, and I’m so good at making clothes, and I have such a knack for this other thing, and so I chickened out basically. You know? I chickened out.”

When fame came through his designing career, Mizrahi could fulfill his original ambition.

“This is my, my second act, and I’m just like getting started, I can’t wait for more gigs, I can’t wait to get up and do this,” Mizrahi said.

Mizrahi calls his stand at The Carlyle this time “extra, extra special” because it’s been two years since he faced an audience there. His shows last year were virtual, and they “just weren’t the same — at all.”

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