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n exceprt from NYdailynews as follows:|
By Lee Hernández
Wednesday, October 8th 2008, 9:27 AM
Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo.
When Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, wore an elegant black tunic and palazzo pants to a Calvin Klein fund-raiser in Manhattan last June, Isabel Toledo swooned.
“Michelle really wanted to be sophisticated, and she did it,” says the Cuban-American designer.
“Graphically, she was a visual message that read, ‘I’m in control.’”
Toledo should know — she designed the set.
“She could’ve worn anybody,” a flattered Toledo, 47, said in her spacious, sunbathed loft on Broadway and 28th St.
“But she chose to wear a dress made by a Latina, and made in the U.S. So she chose to support the industry here.”
Toledo didn’t design the dress specifically for Michelle Obama, nor did she sell it directly to her.
Obama bought it at Ikram, a Chicago store that sells Toledo’s clothes.
“I was so honored to hear that she’s a fan,” said Toledo. “Think of it, this girl from West New York, N.J., is designing a dress worn by the possible next First Lady,” she says, crossing her fingers.
“I’m in the White House! Well, I’m in the closet of the White House,” she jokes.
Toledo said she was recently contacted by Obama’s representatives, but out of respect for her privacy she wouldn’t say specifically what she’s working on.
“I have sent her a lot of things to wear on the road,” she allows.
Last month, Toledo became the third recipient of the Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion from the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, her alma mater.
She just designed costumes for the Wheeldon Company’s new ballet, “Morphoses,” and next spring, she’ll unveil the exhibit “Holy Toledo!” — a celebration of her 25 years in the industry.
Born Isabel Izquierdo in Cuba where she lived until the age of 8, Toledo grew up in West New York and attended Memorial High School, where she met her husband, the artist Rubén Toledo.
They married in 1984 and settled in Manhattan.
She spent the next decade designing and doing fashion shows, which she doesn’t do anymore.
“Before the shows were more intimate, they were about the clothes — not about who was sitting in the front-row seats,” she says.
But in 25 years in the business, Toledo admits, her work has changed, too.
“It used to be more industrial,” she says. “It has become much more intricate and handmade.”