From left, Ruben and Isabel Toledo, Linda Heasley, Christian Siriano and Brad Walsh.


The Foundation Fighting Blindness saluted Lane Bryant’s Linda Heasley, former Ugg Australia Connie Rishwain, and Isabel and Ruben Toledo at its New York City Fashion Ball Thursday night at The Pierre.

After accepting her award from O’s Adam Glassman, Heasley said, “I work in an industry dependent upon images and visual presentation as added reference, my sight helps me make decisions daily. But vision also refers to our beliefs to an idealization of what can be as Adam suggested. Mine is a determination that we can reshape public perception and change the stigma surrounding plus-size fashion. The pressure women feel to appear a certain way can create shame. It is sadly ironic that the shame so many Lane Bryant customers experience is nothing more than misbegotten societal response so far as who they are and what they do. I say ironic when I consider seeing wrongly to seeing badly. I’m humbled that while we’re fighting visual standards of beauty that are way to narrow and exclusive, the foundation is fighting to help people have basic visual capacity.”

Honoring the husband-and-wife design team of Isabel and Ruben Toledo, the Fashion Group International’s Margaret Hayes described them as being “totally enmeshed and intertwined in their art and in their relationship” and said that was best defined by something Isabel Toledo once said, “I think we don’t know which one of us is which.”

Afterward, the Cuban-born Toledos said they have yet to return to Havana, but they have received offers from “both sides” regarding special projects. Declining to elaborate, Ruben Toledo said what is definite is the Oct. 8 opening of “Bodies of Work: The Art of Ruben and Isabel Toledo,” a new exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art.

He also addressed the report that Isabel Toledo would be the top choice to design the Bonnie Cashin label should that happen. “Bonnie was a big fan of Isabel’s when she was living at the U.N. Plaza before she died,” he said. “Bonnie is one of the great American, real, real talents with a broad creative scope. To me that’s the essence of American creativity. It’s so broad. It’s not just about clothes — it’s about life, lifestyle and how you live. To us, that would be a dream come true. I think hat is such an Isabel thing. She has that same kind of gutsy, outdoorsy individualistic point of view of life so let’s see what happens. But there is no offer on-the-table.”

Isabel Toledo, who has a Lane Bryant line, wasn’t the retailer’s only supporter in the crowd — model Precious Lee turned up, as well as Christian Siriano who recently debuted his Lane Bryant line at the United Nations. Heather Thomson attended, Alicia Quarles emceed and Bradford and Bryan Manning, founders of the clothing label Two Blind Brothers, displayed a sampling of their collection.

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