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Isabel Toledo Receives Designer of the Year Award

DATE: April 23, 2010


YouTube Isabel Toledo Acceptance Speech

YouTube Senior Lines

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PIM 2010
In foreground: Emme Dunham, age 7, of Chantilly, VA with Leila Kirdasi '10 of McLean, VA (Business, Marketing major) modeling cream gown by Nina Nguyen '11 of Leesburg, VA. Photo by Moshe Zusman


PIM 2010
Designs by senior Mehrosh Hasher of Herndon, VA, modeled by (l to r) Brianna Wise '10 of Baltimore, MD (Business, Fashion Merchandising major); Courtney Kemp '11 of Petersburg, VA (Business major); and Charlene Fowler '12 of Sterling, VA (Interior Design major. Photo by Moshe Zusman


PIM 2010
Designs by senior Allison Jordan of Arlington, VA, modeled by (l to r) Alex Curley of Richmond, VA (Information Technology); John Ramseth '11 of Washington, DC (Physical Therapy); and Hector Aguilera '10 (Management). Photo by Matt Dunham


PIM 2010
Designs by senior Karyn Catania of Pasadena, MD, modeled by (l to r) Lindsay Wasiljov '12 of Pasadena, MD (Fashion Merchandising); Samantha Walker '10 of Washington, DC (Fashion Merchandising); and Leanne Hundley '14 of Smithfield, VA (Fashion Merchandising). Photo by Moshe Zusman


PIM 2010

Isabel and Ruben Toledo (center) backstage with students. Photo by Moshe Zusman


PIM 2010
Model parade at the end of the show. Photo by Matt Dunham


PIM 2010
Isabel and Ruben Toledo review the portfolio of senior Nicole Travers of West Seneca, NY. Professor Jan Ellinwood, chair of Marymount's Fashion programs, is on the far right. Photo by Matt Dunham


PIM 2010
Marymount University President James E. Bundschuh presenting the 2010 Designer of the Year Award to Isabel Toledo. Photo by Matt Dunham

On April 22, Marymount's annual student fashion show, Portfolio in Motion, treated the audience to sophisticated, innovative designs and clothing for every occasion. Building upon the free-ranging imagination of children at play with dolls, the 2010 show theme was All Doll'd Up.

Marymount students from across the University modeled the jury-selected creations of the Fashion Design students as they walked the runway designed by Fashion Merchandising students. Set design, lighting, music, and choreography brought the grown-up dolls' world to life.

At the show, Fashion designer Isabel Toledo was honored as Marymount University's 2010 Designer of the Year. She attended the event with her husband and collaborator, illustrator Ruben Toledo. A true fashion innovator, Isabel Toledo has been designing for more than 25 years; she has received acclaim for her creative vision and attention to detail, cut, and nuance. Her dedication to designing clothing that is timeless and free of trends sets her apart as an iconic and free-thinking talent. Isabel and Ruben Toledo were the recipients of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion in 2005. In 2006, they were both awarded a Fashion Visionary Award by Fashion Group International (FGI). And, in 2008, Isabel Toledo received the Couture Council Award for Artistry.

Ms. Toledo gained even greater recognition when First Lady Michelle Obama selected her lemongrass yellow wool lace dress and overcoat to wear to the inauguration. The Toledos generously donated Ruben's original illustration and a fabric swatch of Mrs. Obama's inaugural outfit to Marymount's silent auction, held at the reception before the show.

Upon accepting the Marymount Designer of the Year Award, Ms. Toledo congratulated the students on their spirit of innovation, saying, "You did a beautiful job and beautiful staging, too." She told them, "Keep your enthusiasm; that gets you through absolutely everything."

Marymount's fashion programs have a global perspective. Three Marymount senior Fashion Design students --Karyn Catania (Pasadena, MD), Jessica Gray (Woodbridge, VA), and Allison Jordan (Arlington, VA) -- designed garments as part of a partnership with the USAID Macedonia Competitiveness Project, which supports sustainable economic development in that country. Marymount alumna Lori Brock '92, who is with CARANA Corporation, a consultant to USAID, established the connection between her alma mater and the Macedonia project. Sample garments of the students' designs were manufactured in Macedonia and then presented at a Business-to-Business event with buyers from the UK (including Topshop and Monsoon). These outfits were also featured at the fashion show, and His Excellency Zoran Jolevski, the Macedonian Ambassador to the United States, presented certificates of appreciation to the students at the end of the show.

The following awards were also presented at Portfolio in Motion:
- the Portfolio in Motion Award to Jessica Gray
- the NAMSB Foundation Arthur H. Taylor Award for Excellence in Menswear Design to Allison Jordan
- Best Senior Line for a Target Market to Gelila Seleshi (Alexandria, VA; originally from Ethiopia)
- Best Senior Line for Fabrication to Noor Al Khalifa (from Bahrain)
- Best Senior Line for Coordination to Mehrosh Hasher (Herndon, VA)
- Best Senior Line for Innovation to Federica Pagani (Vienna, VA; originally from Milan, Italy)

The morning after the show, Isabel and Ruben Toledo spent time with the students, reviewing senior designers' portfolios and talking to fashion and art students about their collaborative work and how they inspire each other. Living and working together in the same building, they are always together. Isabel said, "When Ruben drew, I saw his lines, and they were like kites to me." And Ruben added, "I was inspired by her shapes - her patterns!" Both artists in their own mediums, they encouraged the Marymount students to "build a creative family" and to find inspiration in all forms of art and cultural expression. "Keep writing your story," Isabel Toledo told them. "You have to love what you're doing."