“Full Circle” is the ideal title for Isabel and Ruben Toledo’s exhibit at Miami’s Freedom Tower. The power couple arrived as kids at the landmark building as political refugees from Cuba within one year of each other; she in 1968, he in 1967. But it wasn’t until a few years later, when the future designer and artist met in high school in West New York, N.J. Kismet, yes. But not love at first sight.
“Well, for me, it was,” said Ruben, while preparing their retrospective, which runs Dec 6 through Jan. 26, 2013, at the tower’s MDC Museum of Art + Design. “Just friends at first on her side. It took a couple of years of convincing.” The seriously dynamic duo also has a book, Roots of Style: Weaving Together Life, Love, and Fashion (Celebra, $25.95), which they discussed Sunday at the historic site as part of the Miami International Book Fair.
Would Isabel dress Mrs. Obama again if she had the chance? Maybe, maybe not — even though the international exposure made her famous and led to successful lines at both Target and Payless. “I hope someone else has that opportunity,” Isabel said. “I had that experience already, and believe me, it is a big moment.”