Recommended Reading

New book on friend-of-Pilchuck Glass School Isabel Toledo

September 29, 2009


In her early days, she hand-restored couture garments with Thee Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute and years later, breathed life into the Anne Klein line, but the Cuban-born New York City-based designer Isabel Toledo isn’t necessarily a household name. Though up in Stanwood — and in certain book-reading circles — she just may be.

Toledo and her illustrator/collaborator husband Ruben spent three weeks at the Pilchuck Glass School in July. I hope you’ll read about it in our brand new October issue; the online version, complete with a slideshow of images I snapped when I was invited up to interview them, is available here.

After meeting them, and then, in an inspired fever to know more, reading the just-released Fashion from the Inside Out by the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Valerie Steele and Patricia Mears, I basically didn’t stop talking about them for days — doing my teeny tiny part to take care of that whole household name thing. The Rubens are certainly well-known in the other Washington, and in cities like Chicago where her designs are sold at that now-iconic Ikram, but, probably because she doesn’t feel the need to show in New York or Milan or anywhere else in the customary fashion week cycles, she flies under the radar.

In examining her story thus far and referencing her geometric yet organic, highly engineered but completely fluid shapes and styles, the authors remind style watchers of her place next to avant-garde designers like Junya Watanabe and Consuela Castiglioni. For a sneak peak of some of the images, see the slideshow, then go get the book.

And when you’re truly inspired, consider supporting the annual Pilchuck Auction Gala on October 23. Yep, the Toledos will be there.


Because you’re a book worm: Biblio File

Because you like people watching at fundraising events: Snapshots

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