HOLY TOLEDO!! Ruben and Isabel talk art and fashion

October 30, 2009
By Sheryl Blasnik


On October 29th The Museum at FIT in NYC invited Ruben and wife Isabel Toledo to share their stories of fashion and art. As a team they are a tour de force in fashion beyond compare.

Ruben, an artist & illustrator, has recently completed three book covers for Penguin’s Couture Classics series (A division of Penguin Books).  These include Pride & PrejudiceWuthering Heights and The Scarlet Letter.  Just looking at these detailed covers draws you in and leaves you wanting for more. Penguin has realized this and Ruben will be illustrating the covers of Dracula and Jane Eyre next year.   Ruben has worked with Vogue, The Costume Institute, Nordstroms, Details magazine and designed the windows at Barney’s NY working closely with Simon Doonan.

Isabel, a fashion designer who you may remember designed the dress that Michele Obama wore at the inauguration ceremony, acts as her husband’s model and muse. When she has an idea for a new design she and Ruben collaborate to turn her gestures and words into a finished sketch.  Isabel was named the third recipient of the 2008 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion from The Museum at FIT.

Both were born in Cuba and met at a New Jersey high school.  They are the perfect fusion of art, music and fashion.  Drawing off each other’s energy and whimsical spirit they create a synergy that drives their work.  They have been so intertwined with each other in both work and romance for the past three decades they can’t help but finish each other’s sentences as witnessed at this event.

When asked by a student if they felt their cuban roots influenced their work they both agreed it had.  Ruben also pointed out that the recent Twilight movies inspire his “dark soulfulness”.  His designs come from the cinema that plays in his head.  He sees his sketches in animation before they are drawn.

For further information about lectures and programs offered at the Museum at FIT click here

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