You two met in high school. Ruben — do you recall what Isabel was wearing the first day you laid eyes on her?
R: "I never used to pay attention to clothes and fashion until I met Isabel — she taught me everything I know now. But I know what Isabel was wearing for sure. She had on this beautiful, linen sunflower yellow and navy tunic and trousers. She looked like Katharine Hepburn or Bette Davis."
So, since Isabel taught you everything you know about fashion, was that not the direction you were originally headed towards in your artistic career path?
R: "I always drew since I was a kid, but I didn’t know what an artist was — it was just what I did. Honestly, my direction in fashion illustration happened because we got married and had to make a living — it really was out of necessity since she married a poor, starving artist like me! But then one day, I went into Isabel’s closet and grabbed ten dresses she had made herself and took them to Patricia Field and Henri Bendel. We immediately got orders, so that was the start of the fashion career."
I: "Yes, that's how it happened. Within a week, I was really in business. I literally had to sit and make everything — we were at it about a month and a half. It was then that we really got to know what the industry was about, so it was like this thing we kind of stumbled into. I always say our careers found us — we didn’t necessarily go after our careers."
Isabel and Ruben Toledo in the School of the Art Institute's Fashion Resource Center wearing Isabel Toledo jackets.