Isabel Toledo Biography

Isabel Toledo was a Cuban-American independent fashion designer based in New York City. She is known for creating Michelle Obama’s distinctive lemongrass- colored sheath dress and matching overcoat for her husband Barack’s 2009 inauguration.

Toledo died of breast cancer on 26 August 2019. Toledo has created collections for actors such as Demi Moore, Debi Mazar, and Debra Messing are among celebrities who have worn Toledo’s creations, both on-screen and on red carpets.

Isabel attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (NY) and Parsons School of Design (NY) where she studied painting, ceramics, and fashion design. She was also an avid seamstress from a young age

Isabel Toledo Age

Toledo was aged 59 at the time of her death. She was born Maria Isabel Izquierdo on 9 April in Camajuani, Cuba.

Isabel Toledo Cause of Death

Toledo died of breast cancer on 26 August 2019.

Isabel Toledo Photo

Isabel Toledo Family

Toledo was born into a large family in the country town of Camajuani. Her family later fled Cuba as Castro consolidated power in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, arriving in the USA on the “freedom flights” of 1967 and 1968. Toledo’s earliest visual memories were suffused with a Caribbean light that, as she puts it, “magnifies all silhouettes.”

She also recalled her first exposure to geometric patterns in the hand-painted ceramic tiles that bordered her home’s walls and floors. In this home, she began dissecting dolls and other objects, a deconstructive habit that would follow her through life. It was where she first saw a sewing machine.

Isabel Toledo Husband

Isabel first met her husband and collaborator Ruben Toledo in high school in West New York, New Jersey. The couple got married in 1984. The Toledo’s have been collaborators and one of New York’s most original duos—for four decades.

Together, the Tuledos won the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for their work in fashion in 2005. The couple’s most recent project was an exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). It was a showcase for the relationship between fashion and art, Labor of Love was an installation of new sculptures, paintings, and drawings that they created together, using the DIA’s collection as inspiration.

Their centerpiece was Synthetic Cloud, a series of dresses sewn by Isabel from layer upon layer of tulle; the sky blue, hot pink, orange, lavender, and neon green colors of which talked to nearby pieces by Donald Judd and Frank Stella.

The Toledo’s were the recipient of the 2005 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for their work in fashion. She was also the recipient of an Otis Critics’ award named for her at the Los Angeles-based Otis College of Art and Design.

Toledo was presented with the third annual Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion from the Museum at FIT in New York’s Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center on September 3, 2008.

Isabel Toledo Career

Toledo was an independent designer who later eschewed runways for museum exhibitions, starting in the late 1990s and served briefly as a creative director for Anne Klein, from 2006 to 2007.

Toledo presented her first collection in 1985 but her work grabbed particular attention after Obama became a fan of buying her clothes in Chicago at Ikram Goldman’s store. Toledo designed created Michelle Obama’s distinctive lemongrass- colored sheath dress and matching overcoat for her husband Barack’s 2009 inauguration.

Isabel Toledo Exhibitions

  • “Isabel Toledo: Fashion From the Inside Out”. The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology)
  • “Isabel and Ruben Toledo: A Marriage of Art and Fashion”. Kent State University Museum. March 2000.
  • Interpretation: 20th Century Clothing and Illustration, Ohio State University/Ohio Arts Council, 2000
  • Isabel and Ruben Toledo: A Marriage of Art and Fashion, Kent State University Museum, 2000
  • Spirals & Ellipses: Clothing the Body Three-Dimensionally, Kent State University Museum, 2005

Isabel Toledo Net Worth

The designer’s net worth is not yet disclosed.

Isabel Toledo Instagram

Categories: People