Isabel Toledo, Ruben Toledo
In 1985 Isabel Toledo presented her first collection. Toledo stopped showing her collections in traditional seasonal runway shows in 1988. She believed designers rushed to get ready for such shows, ending up with unfinished pieces. She prefers to let her designs develop in their own time. In addition, to be noticed at runway shows, a designer must be "loud"ï¿½Toledo believes designs should develop organically rather than being created to attract attention. Her business even improved after she stopped showing, which she attributed to the fact that her designs were fully formed by the time they were seen by her customers. In the late 1990s, however, Toledo began to show again.
In 1998 Toledoï¿½still without a corporate backerï¿½opened her first store, called the Lab, in New York near Madison Square Garden. The shop featured children's clothing, menswear, home furnishings, and the womenswear for which she is known.
Isabel Toledo has long been considered one of fashionï¿½s true innovators. At once a cult classic and mainstream muse, Toledo is known as much for her esoteric approach to fashion (she once opened a shop tucked deep inside a Chelsea loft) as her architectural appreciation of the female form ("I'm not a fashion designer, I'm a seamstress,ï¿½ she has insisted.