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Isaac Mizrahi Gets in the Driver's Seat

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Isaac Mizrahi Gets in the Driver's Seat

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Like many a savvy fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi knows the importance of brand extension. It's not just about clothes anymore. Whether he's judging fan-favorites on Project Runway All Stars (the second season premieres Oct. 25),designing decorative pillows or revealing his first-ever perfume, FABULOUS, he gives every departure the respect it's due.

So, we shouldn't have been surprised when we heard he was partnering up with a car company. No, you won't be driving an all-new "2013 Isaac Mizrahi" anytime soon, but the iconic designer did use the Chevy Malibu midsize sedan as inspiration for a six-piece capsule collection available exclusively on LivingSocial starting Oct. 16 at noon.

We took a back seat and let Isaac tell us all about his latest inspirations, what we can expect from the new season of All Stars and how he'd fare on a reality show.

Okay, so, a car isn't the first thing that comes to mind when we think about fashion...
As a design person, it's all about lines and color or even about solving a problem. My life is much more about lending a woman ease and beauty. What's such an important part of culture? The clothes you wear, the accessories you put on, the car you drive. It's about the big picture and about lifestyle more than anything. I design clothes, housewares, food even. I'll tell you, I'm not an automotive designer, but I do love a good car.

How did you find inspiration from the Chevy Malibu?
There's something very beautiful about the Malibu. It's very jewel-like. The shape of the headlights, the color of the car… Few colors are so refined and sophisticated. From there, you get inspired to move and create clothes.

What's your favorite look in the collection?
My favorite piece is this quilted leather jacket. It feels like it's from a couture collection. It's also the first thing I thought of. The headlights inspired me as did the luxurious leather seats… The jacket is what kicks off the whole collection. I also love the driving moccasins. I've always said that it starts with a shoe. If you get the shoe right, you get the collection right. What's great about these is that they are everything — they look like a boat shoe but they're also like a ballerina flat.

What other research did you do for this project?
Over the summer, I went on a road trip. I went to four different cities and met four different women who were muses to me. Classically, that's the way I work. Women inspire me. Meeting, befriending, and working with them is big source of inspiration to me — listening to their stories, visiting their homes, looking in their closets. These women had amazing style on their own, and none of them had any kind of pretense. I don't think style is possible with pretense.

You've met a lot of women over the years. Does anything they say surprise you?
The thing that I realize again and again and again is how much women care about this subject of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. I never stopped caring about it, and it's amazing how fascinated women are with it. The more I get into it, the more I feel that if you surround yourself with the right products, the right food, the right house and car, it can add to your life. It can make your life great.

The second season of Project Runway All Stars kicks off later this month, and we can't wait to see the likes of Wendy Pepper, Emilio Sosa, and Joshua McKinley face off. What can you tell us?
What's great about show is that it's Project Runway amplified — people who already competed and didn't exactly win. The stakes are higher. In some way, you know each and every person selected is going to give you something amazing. This time, there were honestly very, very few flat moments on the runway. It was a huge show every week, so it became really difficult to eliminate and judge. The clothes were on such a level. And the designers competing again were there to prove something. So when they get eliminated, it really hurts.

If you were just starting out, do you think you could handle Project Runway? What type of competitor would you be?
When I was a kid, there was no such thing as reality TV. I came up the ranks in a different way. I don't know if I'd be able to compete on that level. It requires so much rigor and concentration and physical brute energy. I'm not the most physical person — a lot of things live in my head. When I started, I did everything myself… I made every single pattern. For the most part for the first number of years, I did it all, but now I work best with teams of people. I wouldn't be able to make it thinking the way I think. I don't think in one look. I can't do it in one figure. I would need a whole collection every time. I would be terrible.

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