Thanks to the memorable moment when Michelle Obama wore her now-renowned "Lemongrass" dress, all the new attention on design veteran Isabel Toledo is much-deserved. Case in point: Fashion From the Inside Out, a new exhibit at The Museum at FIT, offers a heady dose of Toledo's scultpural techniques and expert workmanship. Accompanying each dress in the exhibit is a diagram, like origami instruction, revealing the intricate orchestration of her dramatic drapings. Referred to as "romantic mathematics," we'd say this is a lot more interesting than traditional geometry. Not only are the pieces themselves gorgeous, but the cheeky names bring an added appeal. The "Convertible Lettuce" dress has sheer coral layers that are splayed out like iceberg petals; the "Broom Librarian" dresses that the designer did during her stint at Anne Klein are hand-painted with stunning florals created by her artist-husband, Ruben Toledo; the ruched garnet "Hermaphrodite" dress bunches up silk taffeta in such a way that makes for, um, ambiguous genitalia. And the playful kink doesn't stop there. The "Harness Dress"—comprised of a few strips of taffeta-clad elastic—is like chic S&M gear for ladies not so into the whole leather-and-studded-chains look. For a closer look, check out The Cut's exclusive Toledo tour right here.
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