She’s one of the most popular Hispanic fashion designers in the industry… And, now Isabel Toledo is getting due recognition for her inspired work.
During a presentation of Toledo’s Spring-Summer collection this evening in Miami—her first major show in 10 years—the 50-year-old Cuban designer and her husband/collaborator Rubén Toledo received Lifetime Achievement Awards from Fashion Group International at an event sponsored by Vanidades magazine.
Toledo’s runway show was a treat for Miami fashionistas because the designer, feeling they’ve lost their essence, stopped doing them altogether.
“There was no intimacy, no connection between the woman [the model wearing the clothes] and the audience.” she told The Miami Herald in a recent interview, “It was all about who was sitting in the front row.”
Despite that 10-year hiatus from doing runway shows, the “designer’s designer” has continued to see tremendous success.
“We now have a four-story building and a staff,” says Toledo, a favorite of first lady Michelle Obama, who wore a Toledo original to her husband’s presidential inauguration. “And we do it all with fashion. All of it made in America. All of it very high quality. The big houses are shocked that we’ve been able to do this.”
Toledo’s latest collection is inspired by the Caribbean and the women of that region. Toledo showed feminine, flowing dresses in colors taken from the tropical scenery of the Caribbean, including the blue hues of ocean and sky.
“This collection is less New York; I was inspired by the sensuality of Caribbean style, the coloration,” says Toledo, who’s proud that her couture name is featured on a collection of shoes at Payless, where anyone can shop.
Along with keeping her designs accessible to all women, regardless of their income, Toledo and her husband also believe in helping the next generation of fashion designers. The dynamic duo fund the Isabel and Rubén Toledo Scholarship.
“It means a lot to us that a design student can get to go to school because of this,” says Rubén, who can’t help but be in awe of his wife’s work.
“It’s like being a scientist,” he says. “She keeps having breakthroughs.”
Breakthroughs that have resulted in this much-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award.