(All of the images are from ISABEL TOLEDO: Fashion From the Inside Out, by Valerie Steele and Patricia Mears. I took snapshots of a few pages for the purposes of review; they by no means do the amazing photography in the book justice.)
So after all the blathering about construction and knowing fabrics, I wanted to show what I meant about Toledo's work. It's interesting and unusual, sure. It is also very technically sophisticated -- these garments are engineered by an exceptional mind and the shape and the draping reflect Toledo's unique ability for 3D thinking. Some of the photos contain the patterns, and you can appreciate the unique nature of those -- I don't know of anyone else who cuts the clothing in this way.
Then these clothes are beautiful. Not at all driven by trends, Toledo has been doing her stuff since mid-1980's, and yet she always remains cutting edge, classic and avant-garde all at once, but always graceful, always beautiful. And flattering. She knows the body and designs for it (unlike many designers who see an actual average body as an annoyance that interferes with their vision.) And the models are diverse -- there are different ethnicities and body types, even ages. And her clothes are flattering on everyone, because she designs for a body, not despite of it.
Croissant blouses and tuning fork pants:
Intricately constructed dresses. Notice the patterns overlayed in some of the photos.
Jellyfish blouses, with patterns:
One of many infanta dresses, this one with handkerchief hem. The circles are skirts, that ack flat (yes, she thinks about how clothes pack.)
More flat packing dresses. Each is constructed from two circles of fabric -- one ivory, one black.
What Mears referred to as 'manipulated surface': intricate pleating dives these dresses and jackets an appearance of ornament, but these are actually tiny pleats on the fabric. Designed not to add bulk.
The next two photos demonstrate the suspension technique, where the fabric is supported by twisting cords or thick seams of fabric. On the first picture -- jersey dresses.
On the second -- taffeta Hermaphrodite dresses.
Toledo's tube jackets.
A jacket (model -- Alek Wek) and a jacket pattern. Did I mention that no one cuts sleeves like Toledo?
A variety of people in Toledo's sculptural garments (from Toledo's Nordstrom campaign, photographed by Ruven Afanador.)
Alek Wek and Carmen Dell'Orefice
And these are from 2007, when Toledo briefly worked for Anne Klein. These are the shots from Anne Klein fashion show. It's both amazing yet not, because really, both Toledo and Anne Klein are so much about practical dressing for average people. Even if Toledo's garments seem like so much more.