The design duo of Isabel and Ruben Toledo have just polished off a three-week stay deep in the woods of Washington state as artists-in-residence at the Dale Chihuly-founded Pilchuck Glass School. What they did on their summer vacation — if you can call it that — will be auctioned at the school’s Oct. 23 annual fund-raiser, a favorite stop for glass art collectors and one the husband-and-wife team will co-chair. Here, the designers chat with WWD about the experience.
WWD: How did you hear about Pilchuck and had you worked with glass before?
Ruben Toledo: We were turned on to Pilchuck by our friends at Nordstrom, when they staged an Isabel Toledo fashion show at Dale Chihuly’s boathouse studio [in 2004]. The glass-blowing demonstration blew us away. We had no experience at all with glass. When we were invited to Pilchuck, we approached it like an open book — we took a dive into the pool of glass to see what would happen organically, with no preconceived ideas. We simply observed the master blowers and the students and took it from there.
WWD: Do glass and fashion design have much in common?
Isabel Toledo: They surprisingly do. I work directly with the cloth the way blowers work the hot glass — it must be done fast and instinctively, letting gravity do most of the work to really get the most out of the material. In my case, it could be silk jersey. At Pilchuck, it was glass.
WWD: What did you work on at Pilchuck ?
I.T.: We did it all. Ruben painted and drew our glass ideas and students and master blowers did their interpretations. We collaborated with every glass department. We experimented with casting drawings on glass and making glass-pattern vessels from my original dress patterns. We really did take advantage of all the facilities. It was a real crash course in glass.
WWD: What was a typical day?
R.T.: We woke up for breakfast at 7:45 a.m., when the cowbell rang. Then [we were] off to our studios. Isabel and I had adjoining studio cabins but we ended up working in one together, and the other we called “the cemetery” where the ideas and experiments that were not ready for prime time went to live. Our doors and windows were always open, and students would pop in with ideas and questions.
The day was like a whirlwind of art and ideas. The dinner cowbell went off at 6 p.m. The food was amazing and could not be missed — everyone ran to the Lodge [dining room] in their work wear. Then back to work until midnight. The whole place never stops. Since you’re working practically outdoors with deer prancing by, it’s a real pagan pleasure.
WWD: What were the rustic accommodations like?
I.T.: We had our own private wedding cabin in the woods, so that no one could find us. On the weekend we moved up the mountain even further to Dale Chihuly’s original cabin with an incredible view. We could see the fog rolling in from the Pacific. We saw a major meteor shower plus saw the aurora borealis.
WWD: What did you learn about fashion design from working with glass ?
I.T.: Glass is both fragile and hardy, like fashion.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews