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April 25 2014

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7 posts tagged "Isabel Toledo"

High Fashion for Women of All Shapes and Sizes

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Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant

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.”

Photo: Courtesy Photo

What About Mary-Kate?

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Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate OlsenEarlier this month, the CFDA elected three new designers to sit on its board in order to replace former members Yeohlee Teng, Kenneth Cole, and Isabel Toledo, who will retain emeritus status. WWD reports today that the newcomers are Prabal Gurung, Deborah Lloyd, and The Row’s Ashley Olsen. Strangely, there was no mention of Ashley’s twin and co-designer, Mary-Kate. That’s not to say that the former Full House stars are required to do everything in tandem, but still…maybe next year?

Photo:Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

What Harlem Will Be Wearing This Summer

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Target’s newest megastore opens its doors in Harlem later this month, so to celebrate its new home, the brand tapped a few designers to create limited-edition, Harlem-centric items, a portion of the profits from which will go to neighborhood causes of their choosing. Isabel and Ruben Toledo contributed swimwear and cover-ups (Isabel-designed and Ruben-illustrated), like the graphic bikini and beach towel, above. (“El Museo,” perched atop the towel-lady’s coif, stands in for the collection’s beneficiary—El Museo del Barrio.) Designer Stephen Burrows designed brightly color-blocked dresses, and chef Marcus Samuelsson, whose new restaurant, Red Rooster, is slated to open in Harlem this fall, had a hand in fruit- and- vegetable-print potholders and kitchen accessories (the latter two to benefit libraries in local schools).

Isabel and Ruben Toledo for Target towel, $24.99, and bikini top and bottom, $17.99 each, available July 25 at Target, 517 E. 117 St., NYC, (212) 835-0860, and beginning August 1 at www.target.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Target

Toledo, Meet Topeka

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Top editors including W‘s Stefano Tonchi, Vogue‘s Sally Singer, and Kim Hastreiter of Paper magazine joined Isabel Toledo and the top brass from Payless ShoeSource at Casa Lever today for a lunch to fête the designer’s collaboration with the global chain. Toledo has created seven shoe styles—all vegan and all, she promises, comfortable to walk in—along with two bags. We’re particularly fond of the rubber-soled wedge ghillie on the gal on the left of this Ruben Toledo watercolor. Thanking CEO LuAnn Via and CMO Eran Cohen, who were in town from the company’s headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, Toledo said, “I’m very well oiled in the special and the unique, and you’re top at getting product to the masses.” With 4,200 locations in 19 countries (Russia will make 20 later this year), plenty of people are going to become better acquainted with Toledo’s special brand of uniqueness when the shoes arrive in September.

Illustration: Ruben Toledo

Isabel Toledo At FIT

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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