Flashback to the beginning of New York Fashion Week... my girls' (jeweler/illustrator Lorraine West and designer Ashaka Givens) and I set out to enjoy the city-wide party, Fashion's Night Out. We decided to hit Barney's for some festivities and serendipitously ran into Ruben and Isabel Toledo signing copies of Isabel's new book, Fashion From The Inside Out. When we discovered Ruben was also doing quick portraits with each purchase, we grabbed books and jumped in line! Needless to say, this dynamic duo is a huge inspiration for each of us, so we were super excited to meet them. The Toledo's were amazingly warm, down to earth and gracious. We all hit it off so well that within a few minutes of chatting, Ruben invited us to a walk thru of Isabel's FIT exhibit the following week!
Lorraine, Isabel, Ruben, Me and Ashaka having fun at Barney's
So not only did we get to meet and talk with these tremendous icons, but we received the unique opportunity to join them for an intimate session! Arranged by urban fashionista/writer Michaela Angela Davis, a small group of young artists and designers were invited to this very exclusive event at The FIT Museum. It was quite an honor to be personally escorted through the works of Isabel and Ruben, circa 1980's to present, as they openly shared their history, both as a couple and in their respective art forms.
They even stayed for a Q&A, where we talked in detail about their relationship, building the Toledo brand together and staying true to their passions and beliefs. They encouraged all of us to do the same, assuring us that you don't have to conform to succeed as an artist.
Together for 25 years now, the Toledo's are the epitome of "soul mates". They love, support and inspire each other in every way. When Isabel thinks about a new design, she tells Ruben about it and he draws it out for her. Usually this process is done by the designer herself, so this is just one example of how in sync they are. They way they spoke about each others talents, with such a mutual respect and love, captured all of our hearts! Everyone in that room left feeling enlivened and hopeful...