VFB Interviews Designer Isabel Toledo

Designer Isabel Toledo has long been considered a fashion innovator who creates works of arts. She has been designing for 25 years, but most recently became a household name since she designed the lemongrass shift dress First Lady Michelle Obama wore on Innauguration Day. She also recently collaborated with Payless to create a line of affordable shoes (check them out here). We got a chance to interview her (so excited!) and she talks to us about her latest collaboration, gives us some style and budget fashion tips and even mentions some possible future designs for Mrs. O. Enjoy!

Viva Fashion Blog: How did your partnership with Payless come about?

Isabel Toledo: EASILY, the folks at PAYLESS just contacted me about a possible collaboration which I jumped at right away... I love designing things that can appeal to a broad audience, basic enough to become essentials in your wardrobe but iconic enough to be memorable and well made but affordable .

VFB: What can women expect with your new collection at Payless and what was your inspiration?

Women can expect GREAT solutions for your feet , smart and modern shapes that are comfortable on your feet and friendly on your wallet. I wanted to make graphic and iconic shapes that I hope are a pure joy to wear in different occasions , unexpected textures and colors that can quickly update your wardrobe. I wanted to make shoes that I want to wear on a daily basis , not too precious but iconic problem solvers !!!

VFB: If women could only splurge on one item...what item do you think that should be and why?

IT: That’s a TRICK-Y QUESTION-- it depends on what type of life you lead, what the core of your wardrobe is, for me it’s the taxi yellow ghillie, I love the pop of color in the heel , great with black-white-khaki-gray, red - it makes any basic clean sportswear look smart and modern, like the perfect answer or the perfect pick-me -up on a rainy day--- also because of the rubber soles-great for bad weather -for clothes I would say a great fitting cashmere black turtle neck sweater -take good care of it and it will last you forever , dress it up with a great skirt or dress it down with your favorite jeans, it always looks like class.

VFB: What is your best budget fashion style advice?

IT: Know yourself, this will define your style - keep it simple, buy things you know you'll wear for ages ,this gives you a look that becomes all yours and a look you can perfect with time.

VFB: What is your favorite piece of fashion that you own?

IT: A plaid jacket I designed for ANNE KLEIN in 2006, it’s so empowering to wear, I wish I had six more -that and my whole entire wardrobe ,some of my favorite clothes go back more than 25 years, I LOVE clothes that last forever and you can mix them up in endless ways.

VFB: Are you working on any future designs for first lady Michelle Obama...if so can you describe what it is?

IT: Yes I am but a women's wardrobe is always top secret and not to be revealed until she wears it!-surprise is a great accessory!

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