May 2010

Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out

Yale University Press in assoc. with FIT, New York

  • P.O. Box 209040
  • New Haven , CT


abc Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out xyz examines the creative process of Isabel Toledo’s work. It analyzes the artistic and cultural influences on her work and her unusual methods of construction. The book is filled with amazing pictures of her astonishing creations. The story of her life and artistic collaboration with her husband and creative partner, the illustrator Ruben Toledo, is documented by Valerie Steele, the Chief Curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, and Patricia Mears, the Deputy Director of The Museum. The book also reveals Ruben’s beautiful and artsy fashion illustrations, which makes the book even more remarkable.

Fashion Designer Isabel Toledo was born in Cuba and moved to New York when she was eight years old. She met Ruben in ninth grade Spanish class and both fell in love. After graduating and spending four years volunteering at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology. At the same time she had an active fashion life downtown, creating stage costumes for performers such as Klaus Naomi and Joey Arias. She also held “kamikaze fashion shows” in the bathrooms of the Mudd Club.

She hit the spotlight with her first New York fashion show in 1985. The invitation was a long white glove, hand’stitched with the date and place of her show. Toledo was named Creative Director of Anne Klein in 2006 and both parted in 2007. She never designed for a mass-market and was only known to only an inner circle of devoted fans. However, she became famous by designing the lemongrass dress and coat worn by Michelle Obama for Inauguration Day. Her focus on extraordinary techniques, her willingness to experiment, and her strong personal vision make her work stand out. abc Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out xyz is a revelatory exploration of a fashion innovator.

Reviewer: Kristine Upesleja, FIDM Library Staff Member