SocialMiami Remembers: Isabel Toledo

By SocialMiami Staff and Photos by Alexander Iziliaev, courtesy of Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet's artistic director Lourdes Lopez and Isabel Toledo.
Miami City Ballet's artistic director Lourdes Lopez and Isabel Toledo.

Miami City Ballet’s artistic director Lourdes Lopez and Isabel Toledo

Isabel Toledo, the Cuban-American designer who created Michelle Obama’s dress for an inaugural parade and who worked closely with Miami City Ballet, died at age 59 in Manhattan.

Lourdes Lopez and Isabel Toledo with Miami City Ballet Dancers

The New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman reported that Toledo was “uninterested in limelight and logos.” She was a rarity in the modern fashion

world, writes Friedman, and won a National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt museum in 2005. She was nominated for a Tony for the costumes for the musical “After Midnight” in 2014, and twice appeared on the International Best Dressed List.

The designer was born Maria Isabel Izquierdo in 1960 in Camajuani Cuba and emigrated to West New York, N.J., where at age 14 she met Rubin Toledo, who would become her husband. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and later the Parsons School of

Isabel Toledo

Design. She left to intern at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Associated Press reports that her career included work as the creative director for Anne Klein and a collaboration with Payless. Her creations, says the AP, were worn by celebrities including Demi Moore, Debi Mazar and Debra Messing.

Here in Miami Beach, Miami City Ballet’s new redesign of The Nutcracker featured costumes and sets by Toledo and her husband. “What an honor to work with Isabel and Ruben Toledo,” MCB artistic director Lourdes Lopez told Broadway World. “Two great artists who understand the importance and impact of this work through generations.”