High Fashion for Women of All Shapes and Sizes-------
Amid plenty of frills and spills, Isabel Toledo launched her debut collection for Lane Bryant in New York last night. The splashy debut—streamed live to visitors on the plus-size retailer’s site—had its share of lace and flouncy pleating, as well as a few catwalk tumbles for one model in a copper glazed skirt.
True to Toledo’s romantic vocabulary, the Spring ’14 collection included a full range of eyelet sheath dresses, flowing tunics, and embroidered coats. Toledo explained that she was inspired by the sensuality of her plus-size models. That sensuality came across in the swinging of silk jersey skirts and rustling of ruffle trim trenches against a cool jazz soundtrack. Fashion and art are one and the same in Toledo’s world: Her propensity for op art and cubism surfaced in richly embroidered patterns and graphic prints in combinations of black, white, and stone. Husband and illustrator Ruben Toledo provided his own artful touches, with print tops and canvas totes illustrated with his trademark flourish.
The mass-market collaboration—Lane Bryant’s first-ever designer collection—initially surprised those who associate the couple with artsy New York gentry. For Toledo, the challenge was in ensuring there be the same quality craftsmanship as her couture confections. And as for designing for the Lane Bryant woman? “It’s all about proportion,” Toledo offered backstage. “If I’m doing my job as a designer, then it doesn’t matter the size of the woman.”