(English note below)

El título son palabras de Isabel Toledo, diseñadora cubano-americana fallecida recientemente y que ha quedado en el imaginario planetario como la diseñadora del traje que luciera Michelle Obama en el acto presidencial de 2009. Hablando sobre este arriesgado tono del vestuario de la ex primera dama, Isabel dijo: “Me gustan los colores que son difíciles de describir. Elegí este porque me parecía que evocaba el renacer. Quería que fuera cálido, pacífico, que transmitiera sensación de calma y que un nuevo día había llegado”.

Foto: Getty

Porque Isabel Toledo no era sólo una purista del diseño, como ha dejado ver en cada entrevista y cada respuesta que daba: “El diseño es muy diferente a la moda. Es por eso que el diseño dura para siempre. Es como un ingeniero. Me encanta diseñar una prenda. Hacer que esto funcione, hacer que funcione, hacer que esta escultura funcione”. Ella estaba seducida por la idea del significado y la comunicación de ideas. Esto, unido a su enorme talento, fueron sus municiones más eficaces para vivir en un contexto preñado de banalidad, excentricismo, flashes y parafernalia. El dúo que formó con Rubén, su esposo, es considerado uno de los más creativos de la escena newyorkina. Y nuestro corazón se ensancha de orgullo.

La artista Teresita Fernández, amiga de Isabel Toledo, días atrás publicó un post en su cuenta de Instagram y a solicitud mía ha accedido gentilmente para que sea publicada aquí. Les dejo con esta nota exquisita, llena de profundo amor y admiración:

” To wear Isabel Toledo’s dresses felt like armour on the body-they made you stand taller and they made you feel your own power.

A few years ago I was photographed for W for an article on artists (by then creative director Alex Gonzalez)- I said I’d only wear Isabel Toledo. Many of you know Isabel did not customarily lend clothes for magazine editorials (in great part because they grossly excluded her and were largely ad/sales/market driven and she was independent and an outsider in that ecosystem).

She personally selected and sent me a rack of exquisite clothing for the shoot, all of her pieces were one of a kind, handmade in her studio- the sample WAS the dress and there were no others. This dress was a really sophisticated sculpture, best appreciated inside out with shaped structural boning, impeccable pleats and complex pattern cuts and stitching.

She was unique in her engineering-more design than fashion. When I read Alber Elbaz’s quote in her obituary “Everybody sort of stole from Isabel” it made me think of how very often Latinx brilliance is not publicly acknowledged until someone dies or is 100 (Ana Mendieta never had a museum show when alive, Carmen Herrera’s show at The Whitney opened when she was 100). Isabel also employed a small atelier of women of color- immigrants who were seamstresses. In a 2012 interview with WSJ she stated the following, which seems like a long time ago in the USA: 

WSJ: Why did you write “Roots of Style?”

IT:“Honestly, more than anything I wanted to share an immigrant story. Because as an immigrant there’s no better country. I feel like this is that time in history where America is going through a big change. And I would love to know that the core values of America are there. That anyone can just pick themselves up.” 

Gracias Teresita!

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