“Storm With a Silent Mist”

isabel toledo

Huffpost.com. “Images courtesy of Patrick McMullan and Getty.”

Isabel Toledo died last week of breast cancer at the age of fifty-nine. Judith Thurman pays tribute to this “designer’s designer” who described couture as a language which she had learned “as a child does, by immersion.”

Self-possession is usually an acquired patina, but Toledo’s was bred in the bone, and it often came across as reticence—the same economy of expression that she brought to her drafting table… A great dress, Toledo once said, has to surprise you with “a rush of feeling,” by which she seemed to mean the feeling of being happy with yourself. Was she happy with herself? Her business partner, husband, and soul mate, Ruben Toledo, described her as “a storm with a silent mist.”

Two days after her death, Ruben wrote:

“Izzy was a contrarian even to herself. Her true medium was unpredictability. If she sensed a cage was descending on her, she spread her wings fast and was gone.”

(Judith Thurman, “Remembering Isabel Toledo, A Designer With Few Peers,” The New Yorker, 9-4-19)

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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2 Responses to “Storm With a Silent Mist”

  1. And that’s a nice dress

    • JMN says:

      Thank you! I must explain why I take credit for the dress. I picked this photo from a plethora of images of Toledo that were available because I too liked the dress. I’m only a casual observer of the fashion scene, but I found Judith Thurman’s remembrance touching. I was also drawn to Toledo’s analogy of couture to language, to the comment about her “economy of expression” at the drafting table, and the rush of feeling brought by “being happy with yourself.” The allusions reminded me of the work of other bloggers.

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