Interview: Eli Mizrahi

From the interview archives.


You’ve worked with designer Phillip Plein on his first show in New York, can you tell us a bit about that experience?
Plein likes things larger than life. He likes to make statements. So when I was asked to help with talent curation and overall brand concept, I accepted. I could just put some of these crazy ideas to work, knowing there would be no constraints. 

What other designers do you hope to work with?
A nice brand to work for would be Gucci. Love the message and their style: wild and quirky, a bit like me.  Also, I recently worked with Chanel which is the holy grail in our business: the ability to remain a classic yet always fresh as f**k through talent and creative vision. Chanel’s fingers rest firmly on the pulse. 

You’ve done some runway modeling as well. What do you say to yourself before you hit the runway? What words of encouragement do you offer yourself?
“Move over Ashley Graham, there’s a new plus size model in town.” Lol. I mean listen, I wouldn’t describe myself as a model, but when you’re involved in the creative process behind a show and you’re seeing some of your ideas, as well as those of your friends’ on the runway… And some cracked-out visionary asks me to walk, why not! I just roll with it, you know. At the end of the day for me it is always about having fun. So I just try to think about a run to the grocery store or a stroll down 5th avenue. 

As an entrepreneur, what niche do you see yourself settling into in the future?
As you can probably see from my character I’m not the best at working in large organizations with too much structure. One of my strengths is seeing stardust in people, sometimes very early. Imagining good concepts for shoots, campaigns – and the faces to go with them. At some point I hope to do all things related to talent and creative concepts through an agency I start. Turn the street credibility into a slightly more serious thing.

You call yourself a man of mystery, but as an avid Instagram poster, you actually seem quite open about sharing your life. So, what’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Man of mystery – that’s like Austin Powers. I’m not that. Some journalist said that once and I think it stuck. I travel a lot, and keep my personal life close to the chest. What you see on Instagram are the parts of my life that are relevant to my work. It’s not to say that is an act, quite the contrary, because my work and my character are very intimately related but I don’t feel the need to show too much. Life’s great right now, why jinx it.

What’s on your Bucket List? Something you can’t wait to do and just haven’t had the opportunity to yet.
Travel to space, and maybe heroin. Matter of fact, heroin in space. I hear Elon Musk is working on trips to Mars. No but seriously, I have traveled the four corners, I live on a plane… Sure there are some places I’d like to see, like Africa and Antarctica, but I love the idea of seeing the unseen, so space is where it’s at.

There doesn’t seem to be any type of fashion that you’re opposed to wearing. How long do you spend laying out your clothes before an event? Are you quick, or do you sift through racks upon racks before you decide?
It depends where I’m going. Then I know what is “frowned upon” and I’ll do just that. The point I am trying to make in general is that there is no single right taste, people should be able to express themselves through their style. Big, small, thin, large. Have fun, be weird. Whatever.

How would you describe your style these days?
Sort of like Clark Gable, but in a Terry Gilliam world. I follow some rules, around structure and colors, some basic things. That’s the classic part. But for all the rest, even the circus has stricter rules than mine.

You were at a black tie event recently in, well, certainly not black-tie! Do you have an inherent desire to stand out from the crowd? 
Silk pants, like everyone else’s lapels. Fashion is about breaking rules, give me one, and I’ll find you a totally valid reason to break it. It’s not about standing out per se, it’s about standing up!


How would your closest friends describe you?
I think a lot of people mistake my demeanor for arrogance and many of those who do not know me, do not like me. That I can live with, but my close friends’ love means a lot to me and I really go out of my way for them. I think they’d say I am loyal, caring and a sensitive soul outside the work life. One other thing is that I treat my friends: celebrity, president, shoe-shiner the same. I’m as likely to cuss out Kendall Jenner as a driver who takes the wrong route when I’m late to a ball.

Is there an item or accessory that you are dying to get your hands on right now?
I have an obsession with watches. Richard Mille red QTPT is definitely under my radar. 

You’ve been fortunate to do a lot of travelling. If you had to live in one city for the rest of your life, where would to choose?
That’s impossible to answer. It goes against my very nature. Staying in one place drives me bat shit crazy. Perfect world, a house in each of my favorite cities, modernist, private, surrounded by nature. So let’s say New York, Ibiza, London, and Monaco. 

You’ve been turning your attention to fitness in recent weeks, how’s that going?
Well, with my new career as a supermodel, I have to take care of the instrument. No but really, I just decided I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle and I try to achieve that through private gyms, classes, and hiking when I’m in the outdoors. I would really like to get into Horseback riding, but I think I’d be too tempted to turn it into a stylized fashion shoot each time.

Is it difficult to balance your busy lifestyle with your health goals?
Absof**kinglutely. Nothing comes easy. When you go out a lot and mess with your internal clock by traveling, you inevitably fall on the the tequila diet, then the pasta follows… So you’ve just got to wake up, remember how you want to look and get back on the grind.

What’s the last thing you texted to someone?
“Where the f**k are you?”

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