July 22 2014

styledotcom Is activewear as ready-to-wear really so revolutionary? Norma Kamali's been doing it since the '80s.

Subscribe to Style Magazine

Isabel Toledo At FIT


Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Day coat and dress is easily the most high-profile ensemble in Isabel Toledo’s repertoire, so it’s no surprise it’s the first thing you see at Isabel Toledo: Fashion From The Inside Out, opening today at the Museum at FIT. Still, this is a designer who prefers to identify her work on a conceptual as opposed to client-oriented basis. “It’s not who’s wearing your dress,” she explained. “That’s the easiest way to describe your work.” Instead, Toledo and husband/collaborator Ruben used thematically based categories, e.g., “Origami” or “Manipulated Surfaces,” to curate the 70-plus looks in the exhibition, which include everything from the striped cotton and denim coats of her eponymous line to the silk taffeta shirtwaist dresses hand-painted by Ruben that she designed for Anne Klein.¬†As to the inevitable life-changing effects of dressing the First Lady, the still fiercely independent designer does admit to enjoying her newfound mass appeal. Might a Target collaboration, à la fellow Obama designers Thakoon Panichgul and Tracy Feith, be in the works? “Maybe you should write about it,” Toledo laughed. “Maybe they’ll call.”

Photo: Ben Gabbe / Patrick McMullan

Designer Update