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Isabel Toledo was born in 1961 in Cuba. She moved to New Jersey where she attended high school and met her future husband and collaborator, Ruben Toledo. Toledo attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (NY) and Parsons School of Design (NY) where she studied painting, ceramics, and fashion design. An avid sewer from a young age, Toledo's work reflects not only a distinct design sense but a keen understand of garment construction and appreciation for the geometric intricacies of pattern shapes. In 1984, Toledo married artist Ruben Toledo and in 1985 presented her first collection. This collection 1985 revealed an approach to design which was more sculptural than tailored, with bold shapes in denim, linen and jersey. In 1998, after twelve years of intense production, Isobel stopped presenting her bi-annual collections. Today she creates at her own pace, keeping her garments hidden until they meet her standards of excellence.
She says: "I see clothes three-dimensionally and I am often more interested in the space between the body and the cloth." Isobel doesn't sketch, she works in prototypes, and nobody, not even she, knows how the clothes in the collection will turn out. In the year 2000, the Kent State University held an exhibition called "Toledo/Toledo, a Marriage of Art and Fashion" displaying the work of Isabel and her husband Ruben. Toledo was named creative director of Anne Klein in 2006 after more than twenty years of working solely under her own name; she was let go from that position in 2007. Along with her husband, RUBEN TOLEDO, ISABEL was the receipient of the COOPER HEWITT NATIONAL DESIGN AWARD for their work in fashion in 2005. Toledo made her debut with Anne Klein at New York Fashion Week in February 2007 to critical acclaim. She and Anne Klein parted ways, however, a few months later.