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As a way to share her views on life, love and fashion design, the woman labeled as the “designer’s designer”, Isabel Toledo shares in her recently released memoir Roots of Style (March 6, 2012) her artistic inspirations, the personal experiences that have shaped her work, her personal philosophies on design and life and how she has skillfully managed to blend art and commerce.
The American public may remember her now historically famous lemongrass dress worn by Michelle Obama on the day of her husband’s presidential inauguration in 2009; however, unless you are in the world of fashion, her name is not one that is regularly recognized as she chose in the late 1990s to no longer participate in fashion weeks due to what she felt was a change of the loss of intimacy and personal nature of high fashion.
For anyone interested in breaking into the world of fashion and design, Toledo’s book is one to keep as a resource on how to turn your passion into a career. Teaching the language of design, architecture and fashion as she weaves readers through her life, she is a muse of her own to those who aspire to live in a world surrounded by fashion, creativity and the world of art.
With the talented illustrations of her husband Ruben Toledo, Isabel inspires readers to follow what their passions, listen to their intuition and revel in your individuality. And one of my favorite parts of the book which appears in the conclusion is where she shares what she calls “fashion acupuncture points” or tried and tested observations that have served her well throughout her life. Here are a few of my favorites:
*Keep your mystery. Value your style secrets as you would your family jewels. This is your personality.
*Learn to love your ugly ducklings. Your creative mistakes contain the seeds of your future successes, so do not discard them.
*An organized closet provides a bird’s eye view of who you are. I organize my closet by category. This is an easy-to-spot formula – a section for pants, another for skirts, jackets, shirts or blouses, and another section of dresses. With time, you can easily read the language of your wardrobe. Your eyes will quickly spot the color or the texture or the silhouette that your unconscious fashion instinct is requesting. Always follow your instinct.