The First Lady's Favorite Designer Debuts S/S 2012 Collection in Miami


Cuban American designer Isabel Toledo became a household name when Michelle Obama donned one of her dresses at the presidential inauguration. Tonight at the Moore Building for Vanidades 6th Annual Magia de la Moda, Toledo will be showcasing her Carribean inspired S/S 2012 collection for the first time ever in Miami. We chatted up the designer on her inspiration for the collection, on the First Lady wearing her creations and what she loves about Miami.

What inspired the collection?    

I was inspired by the Caribbean woman. I wanted to capture the very special style and grace that she exudes.


Attendees at your show can expect to see models clad in what sorts of designs? 

At this years Vanidades 6th Annual Magia de la Moda, it’s all about diversity for me, diversity of style, and design.The fabrics harmonize with nature, many dipped in a watercolor palette, creating sunset effects of coral, pinks, mango and lilacs. Silk failles are the color of river stones, delicately wrapped in chiffons that are the color of tropical fruit.


Since you designed the dress for Michelle Obama how has life as a designer been and do you still create pieces for her?

The attention of the world on inauguration day did change everything for me. I went from being a well kept fashion insider’s secret to a global household name. Mrs. Obama continues to surprise me by recycling things from her past Toledo wardrobe worn in new ways, I love the ingenuity of that. I think all of us women know that it really shows your fashion IQ  when you can reinvent your wardrobe.


What’s it like to collaborate with your husband on the designs? 

It is more like a creative tennis match where we constantly play off each others’ thoughts. It is more organic than a collaboration at this point, its a Yin Yang tango dance.


Tell us about your upcoming Payless shoe line and will we have a chance to see on Wednesday?

It may be my favorite line so far. It has silhouettes and heel heights for every occasion. Talk about diversity, you will see fisherman stilettos, espadrilles, ankle straps, my new “high flats,” tropical Mary Janes on an aerodynamic rubber wedge and my favorite new inventions: beach boots made of natural linen and cottons. These I wear with everything from shorts to lace cocktail dresses to long skirts and gowns.


Have you been to Miami before and if so what do you think about the city and are there any favorite spots to dine at or visit?

We love Miami Beach. We have had a secret hide away here for years and of course we came to the United States from Cuba via the Freedom Tower so we have a very long connection to Miami and Florida. When we are here we never leave the beach and eat at every outdoor terrace restaurant we can find. Ruben especially loves The Ritz Carlton pool-side restaurant because he can either stay in his swim trunks or change into a suit for dinner. They also serve a delicious hot  chocolate and may be the only place on the beach that does. We can often be found there cuddled up in a beach blanket underneath the January moonlight. It’s heaven to see so many stars .


You just had your first runway show in over a decade in Puerto Rico. Why have you waited so long and why now the return to the catwalk?

I only stage runway shows when I feel the urge and lately I have. I am inspired by a new feeling in the air, something is changing in society and in women. I want to help dress that change.


What type of woman is your new collection best suited for?

This collection is for women who feel free enough to be themselves.I love individuality and the perfect imperfection of the modern woman, complete with all her contradictions.


Best fashion advice?

Stay real, keep it simple and sincere, wear what you feel.


Fashion muse?




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