Saturday, October 3, 2009

Isabel Toledo

On 9/26, we ran to W. 27th Street & 7th Avenue to catch FIT's Isabel Toledo show ("Fashion from the Inside Out") around 4pm on its closing day (Procrastinating Fashionistas, anyone?). Better late than never, we quickly joined the crowds admiring her colorful geometric designs.

The show was masterfully curated by Dr. Valerie Steele, Director, and Patricia Mears, Deputy Director of the Museum at FIT. Our vintage hats off, ladies!

Isabel Toledo's mid-career retrospective was divided into themes based on categories of clothing construction (.e.g., Origami, Suspension, Liquid Architecture). The Cuban-born designer's dresses, jackets, skirts and tops were artfully displayed on playful faceless mannequins. Fabulous whimsical sketches by her husband, Ruben Toledo, appeared high atop the displays on a seemingly endless roll of white butcher paper. His illustrations encircled the entire main room, as if wrapping Isabel's show in a warm hug. We felt as if the show catalogued decades of their creative collaboration.

Isabel's Origami designs consist of geometric shapes folded into three dimensional sculptural garments. Jean's personal favorite was the black armadillo-sleeved shirtwaist dress from Fall/Winter 2008. (Sometimes when we go on these excursions we are allowed to pick one item for ourselves, always an interesting challenge, especially when we are faced with an embarrassement of riches.

Valerie wanted the red jacket with the tiny waist [the remembrance of things past] and overstuffed peplum [the disguise of things present].) Karlo got it "spot on" in his assessment of Isabel and Ruben Toledo as the "it" couple ("Talent, passion, style, vision, culture ... Woof.") in his COMA blog on Isabel at Barney's on Fashion's Night Out.

After exiting the Toledo show, we met Maureen, a wonderfully beautiful octogenarian, who chatted and posed for pictures with us in the lobby. Among other tidbits, she mentioned with great pride that both she and her parents had been born in the Village. She had a short shock of gorgeous stark white hair under that hat. Before bidding a fond farewell, she did invite us for "tea ... or cocktails." Smart cookie!

Jean is wearing a vintage hat (originally from The Blum Store in Philadelphia) atop an aubergine Emporio Armani peplum jacket, black Michiko Koshino skirt, Comme des Garcons T-shirt, Dansko clogs and Lounge Fly bag.

Valerie is wearing an asymmetrical vintage black curly lamb and purple velvet military cap from Bonwit Teller (like Jean's hat, also from the city that brought us both Grace Kelly and the highly idiosyncratic Dr. Barnes of the eponymous Collection), a black and purple cotton and rayon polka dot jacket by Perry Ellis, a creature brooch in beads and layered yellow and purple felt by Lynn McClain, purple cotton camisole by H&M, purple cotton and polyester harem pants by Issey Miyake and cornflower Mary Jane shoes by Land's End.
We were ever so strictly forbidden to take pictures inside the exhibition, so we took pictures of ourselves instead!

No comments:

Post a Comment