The Fashion Group International® of Greater Washington, DC hosted independent fashion designer, Isabel Toledo and her husband, artist Ruben Toledo in DC for a special book signing and discussion on Roots of Style. The event was co-sponsored by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design.
The dynamic duo charmed guests who waited patiently in line for autographs, only to be delighted with personal sketches by Ruben himself as he chatted them up. Pulitzer Prize winning fashion critic, Robin Givhan struck up a spirited conversation with the Toledos. They managed to cover everything from how their story began at age 13, to dressing Michelle Obama and the future of their company.
Watching the Toledos interact was the real treat. It was often difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. It wasn’t apparent at the event, but Isabel is quite shy. She has used fashion both as her protective armor and voice over the years. Interestingly enough, she classifies herself as a seamstress first. Her inspiration comes from her love of technique and processes. She loves menswear and even said,”men dress the way I think.”
Many guests were interested in the gorgeous ensemble that Isabel and her team designed for Michelle Obama. It was her goal was to make Mrs. Obama look and feel charming, as the Obama inauguration was such a public event that so many people were a part of. ”It was not just her moment, but Our moment, ” she said. Ruben quipped about how they had no idea she had chosen to wear the dress until they started receiving calls in the studio.
The wool, lace ensemble took Isabel months to conceptualize. She felt frozen until one day she came across a piece of fabric in her studio and everything managed to come together in one evening. ”That’s often how it goes,” she said. ”Inspiration comes from many places.”
Since their big moment, Isabel Toledo has gone from “fashion’s best kept secret” to a household name in many places. She remains true to her craft, despite the fame, opting not to stage fashion shows during fashion week and playing to the mass market.
She and Ruben gave wonderful advice to the audience. Stay true and be fearless!
The Fashion Group International® Inc is a global, non-profit, professional organization with over 5000 members in the fashion industry including apparel, accessories, beauty and home. With a mission to be the pre-eminent authority on the business of fashion and design and to help its members become more effective in their careers, The Fashion Group International® Inc provides insights on major trends in person, online and in print; access to business professionals and a gateway to the influence fashion plays in the marketplace. For more information about The Fashion Group International® of Greater Washington, DC, Inc visit http://washingtondc.fgi.org/.