Looking at Michelle Obama wear an Isabel Toledo dress to the inauguration yesterday reminded me of what a cool couple I think Isabel Toledo and her husband Ruben are. Here's looking at the dress again for the sake of this post.
(photo credit: Monsivais/AP)
I find this creative Cuban American couple to be very inspiring. They have been married for about 25 years. Ruben had his eye on Isabel when she was 14 (he was 13) and she still had braces. Look how cute they are now.(photo credit: Patrick McMullan)
I didn't realize that the new first lady was a fan of Toledo's work until yesterday. Apparently, she also wore this black tunic and pants number designed by Ms. Toledo back in June 2008 to another event.
All this thinking about the talented Toledos made me a little curious about where they live. This prompted me to do some googling to see if their home's interior had ever been featured in print. I found that New York Magazine had done a spread in 2006 on the couple's NYC loft. Click here to see the whole apartment. Those hanging hula hoops are used by Isabel for fitness.(Photo credit : David Allee)
Looking back a bit on the couple's career history, Isabel Toledo previously worked for Anne Klein. That ended in 2007, when it was decided her work was too avant-gard for the label. Her husband, Ruben is a fashion illustrator that does lots of illustrative work for Nordstrom, as well as producing work with his wife and creating sculpture. I was just ripping some his work out of an old magazine this past weekend. I'm sure you'll recognize his work. It's really lovely. I'm a big fan of his style.
Paper Magazine is responsible for my introduction to the Toledos. I've been an avid Paper reader since the mid-90's. It has served as a monthly virtual trip to NYC for me for years. The magazine has featured many photographs and features on the couple, as well as numerous spotlights on Ruben Toledo's illustrative work. Here's a 2003 feature that the magazine ran on the couple.
In 1996, Ruben put out a book entitled, Style Dictionary that I received as a birthday gift 13 years ago. It's filled with 130 of his fashion-related drawings. I still love it. Unfortunately, it appears to be out-of-print.Here's a page scan of a fun page from the book, called, A is for Afros. I had to do a little photoshopping to deal with some of the darkness close to the binding from the scan.Here's Isabel, as drawn by Ruben.I also found out that she won the 2008 Award for Artistry of Fashion by The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT. In conjunction with receiving the award, a retrospective of Toledo’s work will be on display later in the year. The display will be called, Holy Toledo! Isabel Toledo and the Art of Fashion. I would love to go see it.The show opens on June 19, 2009 and runs through September 26, 2009. The exhibition will include several pieces from Isabel, dating back to 1985, as well as illustrations by Ruben. More info over here on the upcoming show.