|Isabel and Ruben Toledo
||Isabel Toledo and
The Couture Council
of FIT rang in Spring 2009 Fashion Week with their
third annual Artistry in Fashion Award Luncheon.
This year’s honoree was fashion icon Isabel
Toledo; the first year’s honoree was Ralph
Rucci, the second year - Alber
Elbaz of Lanvin).
The luncheon was
held on September 3, 2008 at the Rainbow Room
and was hosted by Glenda Bailey (Editor in Chief
of Harper’s Bazaar), Jeffrey Peek
(CEO of CIT) and Carol Hamilton (CEO of L’Oreal).
The luncheons chairs were Yaz Hernandez, Liz Peek
and Sarah Wolfe.
The always witty Simon Doonan of Barney’s,
the luncheon emcee, introduced performance artist
Joey Arias, as the "long-lost illegitimate
son/daughter of Isabel and Ruben Toledo."
Arias then performed a beautiful mixed media piece
(film and a ventriloquist dummy!!) to Billie Holiday's
Isabel Toledo and FIT's
Dr. Joyce Brown
Dr. Joyce Brown, told us that FIT graduates design
everything from the toys our children play with
to the rings on our fingers. Next, the audience
heard (briefly) from the events underwriters:
Carol Hamilton of L'Oreal who told us that she
jumped on the chance to sponsor the event when
asked by Glenda Bailey; Harper's Bazaar Editor
Glenda Bailey (who did not realize she was supposed
to give a speech but was gracious and funny anyway);
and from CIT’s Jeffrey Peek who spoke just
a bit more, but who also told us that he had been
forewarned that he was supposed to speak (and
since he is the CEO of CIT, is probably always
ready to speak). All of the speakers spoke about
how happy they were to support he museum at FIT,
the importance of fashion as art and the admiration
they had for Isabel Toldeo.
The award was
presented by Vogue’s Andre Leon
Talley who spoke of the beauty of Isabel Toledo’s
fashion, her elegant eye and her beautiful pattern
cuts. Talley also said that the magic of Isabel
and Ruben is that they never lost their childlike
sense of wonder.
Simon Doonan then presented a slide show that
supposedly was “just thrown together”
by Isabel’s husband, the artist Ruben Toledo.
This “thrown together” slide presentation
was actually a beautiful and professional presentation
that told the story of Isabel and Ruben’s
lives from their childhood in Cuba (Isabel’s
mother, Bertha, had eighteen sisters), through
their teenage years in New Jersey (where they
met) and on to their rise in the worlds of New
York art and fashion.
Simon then introduced
Isabel who thanked everyone, referencing Joey
Arias as her midnight poet and thanking FIT Museum
director Valerie Steel for loving the artist in
fashion designers. Isabel spoke movingly of how
much the late Diana Vreeland meant to her and
how Vreeland told her that fashion contributes
to the history of our times. And that she, Isabel,
is inspired by the knowledge that by creating
fashion, she is shaping history. Isabel ended
her talk by thanking us for coming and having
lunch with her. Isabel then said that she had
never thanked her husband, Ruben, in public and
did not think she could now. She was tearing up
and so were we.
Ruben then told
the assembled “ladies who lunch” that
the placemats we were using were actually party
favors. Each one was a signed drawing of Isabel
by Ruben Toldo which we all gratefully took home.
Beatrix Ost and Ludwig
Hillary, Katie and Elizabeth
|Photographer Daniel Perry
Photo Credit Belkis Carrasco
|Photographer Belkis Carrasco
Photo Credit Daniel Perry
For information on the Couture Council, call
212-217-4532 or e-mail Couturecouncil@fitnyc.edu.