I went to the hottest cocktail party of the year on Tuesday night (all pun intended in the best way) at the penthouse loft of fashion designer Isabel Toledo and her artist husband Ruben Toledo. In September, Isabel will be honored with the 2008 Award for Artistry of Fashion by The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT. The award will precede a major retrospective of Toledo’s work at the museum, entitled Holy Toledo! Isabel Toledo and the Art of Fashion, opening June 19, 2009 through September 26, 2009. The exhibition will feature several key Toledo looks dating back to 1985 as well as illustrations by Ruben Toledo.
If you're not a fashionista who is already quite familiar with Isabel Toledo, I'll bet you've seen this:
She designed the gorgeous, flowing gown Michelle Obama wore last month at a fundraiser in Manhattan. In fact, Isabel is working on more things for her (the necklace is by Tom Binns). Isabel told me that she was beside herself when she arrived and realized that Michelle was in her dress! Apparently, the potential future First Lady is a long time fan and a client at the chic Chicago boutique Ikram, one of the few places that you can score a Toledo design these days.
Isabel and Ruben Toledo. Aren't they just adorable? They have been married for 24 years.
The Toledos kept apologizing for the heat, but it's not as if they could help it since there was no air conditioning in their gallery space and they certainly couldn't control the weather. We all enjoyed mojitos and/or wine (Yes, I blew my ABCDEF thing again R/C readers!) as we admired the Toledo's space which was filled with Ruben's illustrations, eclectic sculptures, a giant cactus and hula hoops. Yes, hula hoops.
The crowd was very Harper's Bazaar staff and FIT heavy, but there was also a nice mix of notables from various fields including Narciso Rodriguez, Vera Wang, Simon Doonan, Iris Apfel, Carmen del Orifice. I ran into my Web Snob buddy Lauren Dimet Waters of Second City Style and and met a nice new fashion blogger named Elizabeth of Kromstyle.com and her sister Maggie. I was also happy to finally meet Lola Ogunnaike of CNN and Michaela Angela Davis (formerly of Essence and Honey), as well as writer Michael Gross, Alexis Clark of Town & Country and Teri Agins of the Wall Street Journal.
It just goes to show how well respected Isabel Toledo is in the industry that so many designers showed up.
Narciso Rodriguez and Ruben Toledo.
Vera Wang with one of the beautiful hand-painted fans that were given to each guest upon arrival and handbag designer Eric Javits.
Harper's Bazaar Editor-in-Chief Glenda Bailey with the Toledos.
Actor Matthew Modine
Patrick McDonald was the first person I noticed when I walked in the door. No surprise there - he's been killing 'em on the scene since the 70s and Studio 54.
Here is one of the pictures I took that did not come out blurry of Patrick McMullan (who took all of the pictures in this story except the Michelle Obama shot) with the philanthropist Gillian Miniter. Her dress was absolutely gorgeous and I swear she seemed to be the only person there who didn't seem to sweat a bit.
Then again, some of us were not exactly worried about sweating, like Baroness in her rubber dress.