Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out


Isobel and Ruben Toledo

Isabel and Ruben Toledo

Designer and artist Isabel Toledo is being honored with a mid-career retrospective exhibition of some of her best-known fashion pieces at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Opening June 17 and running through September 26, the exhibition will also feature some of  her husband Ruben Toledo’s sketches; a renowned illustrator and visual artist whom Toledo collaborates with often on her designs. “I think of it as fashion from the inside out,” she explains. “I can describe an idea or even a feeling to Ruben, and he’ll sketch it.”

Isobel Toledo dresses

Isabel Toledo dresses

Isobel Toledo dresses and Ruben Toledo's sketches.

Isabel Toledo dresses and Ruben Toledo's sketches.

Additionally, she elaborates on her creative process below:

“I really love the technique of sewing more than anything else…the seamstress is the one who knows fashion from the inside! That’s the art form really, not fashion design, but the technique of how it’s done.” Isabel has said that she doesn’t “want to be radical,” and she insists that “weird is not smart.” But her clothes are undeniably different. None of them have traditional construction. Her patterns, silhouettes, use of materials, and methods of draping are all highly experimental.

(Source of both quotes: Excerpt from interview with Dr. Valerie Steele, courtesy of FIT exhibition website).

Isabel Toledo dresses.

From a Vogue shoot.

Remember our current First Lady’s gorgeous gold-tinged yellow sheath, worn on President Obama’s inauguration? Among her many fashion triumphs, Toledo designed Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress and matching jacket. Right on! We can’t wait to see what future fashion innovations Toledo comes up with.

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