Toledo Toledo: Full Circle

Toledo Toledo: Full Circle

Isabel Toledo was born in Camajuaní, Las Villas, a colonial
town in Cuba’s legendary Valley of the Sugar Mills. Ruben
Toledo, who would later be her husband, was born in
Havana. Along with many Cubans of the 1960s, they
arrived in the United States with their families while still
children, and were processed as political refugees at the
Freedom Tower, in the heart of Miami. Their story is one of
passion, creativity and perseverance, an exhilarating
trajectory through the worlds of art, design and fashion.
Their singular body of work, celebrated in this exhibition at
The Freedom Tower, is a great testament to the promise
and fulfillment of The American Dream.


Beginning with the launch of her first collection in 1985,
Isabel Toledo was immediately recognized as one of the
fashion world’s brightest innovators and a best-kept secret
– one divulged to all when First Lady Michelle Obama wore
Isabel’s now iconic lemongrass lace ensemble to President
Barack Obama’s historic inauguration in 2009.


Toledo/Toledo: Full Circle showcases the essence of the
incomparable yin-yang relationship of the Toledos, beginning
with a timeline of their journey from Cuba to the New
York underground art scene of the 1980s and their elevation
into the highest strata of international creative
achievement and recognition. Archival footage of their
creative progression is projected in the adjacent film room.
A 28-year retrospective of Isabel’s designs is displayed on
mannequins created by Ruben in the central gallery,
showcasing Isabel’s most emblematic design concepts
grouped by recurring themes: Origami displays the
concept of garments formed by the folded repetition of
pattern shapes. Suspension demonstrates how garments
constructed from a balanced central core gracefully defy
gravity. Liquid architecture highlights the structural lines
that give form to jersey garments. Organic geometry
conveys Toledos’ ability to transform geometric shapes
into complex amorphous structures. Manipulated surface
explores how Toledo alters the weave and surface of
textiles to achieve an armor akin to a second skin. Shape
highlights the soft sculptural quality of her clothes.
Shadow examines the play between the transparent and
the opaque.






Floating over the installation
hangs a selection of Ruben’s
panoramic watercolor scrolls
that document Isabel’s
collections. This chronicle, in
progress for almost three
decades, demonstrates
Ruben’s astonishing eye for
revealing details with irony
and humor, qualities that are
displayed in a selection of his
satirical cartoons, ranging
from 1985 to the present in
the next gallery, The Drawing
Room. The First Lady’s
Armoire holds prototype
samples of Isabel Toledo
designs worn by First Lady
Michelle Obama during
numerous occasions of
historical significance. All
galleries unite and intersect,
like the work of the two
Toledos, thus bringing into
focus the full circle their work
has woven.

The creative output of the
Toledos extends well beyond
fashion to include furniture,
ceramics, glass, set and
costume designs, advertising
and graphic design, as well as
illustration and animation.
This exhibition attempts to
demonstrate the crosspollination
of Isabel and
Ruben’s creative vision and to
showcase the impact of their
particular design vocabulary
and its visual imprint on our
time, thus gracefully illustrating
Isabel’s quote, “Fashion is
what time looks like.”

Toledo Fashion Images

Exhibition Presenters


Toledo Painting

About the MDC Galleries of Art + Design Exhibition Credits
Since 2005, the Freedom Tower
at Miami Dade College has served
as the flagship venue for premier
exhibitions and the administrative
offices of MDC’s Museum &
Galleries of Art + Design; including
the newly founded, MDC Museum
of Art + Design. With more than
13,000 square feet of exhibition
space, the Museum is known
for its presentation of exhibitions
by emerging artists, as well as
major figures in modern,
post-modern and contemporary
art. The MDC Museum of
Art + Design vision is to present
world-renowned artists, support
the vast community of local
emerging and established artists,
and allow a platform to present
exhibitions by MDC’s many
distinguished students, alumni
and faculty.


Curator Fred Dennis
Exhibition Design Toledo Studio
Exhibition Cord. Marilu Menendez
Film Room Editor Suzy Zabrowska
Graphic Design MDC Marketing Department
Copy Editor Monica Roos
Registration Vickie Pierre & Gabriela Nunez
Preparators Marcos Valella & Robert Perez
Assistants Catalina Vargas, Desiree Di Tomaso,
Farida Begum, Tiarra Barbarito, Stephanie Cameau, Natasha
Gaguine, Alex Melendez, Cody Shingler, Airon Benitt, Anna
Kropyva, Xavier Alexis Rosado, Jaell Hernamaez
Special Thanks to The Andy Warhol Museum, Univision,
Charlene Parsons and Christy Martin
Tours Hours Admission
To arrange a guided group
tour during museum
and /or gallery hours, call the
MDC Museum and Galleries
of Art + Design Education
Department at 305.237.7700.
All tours are approximately
half an hour. Two-week advance
notice is required to schedule
your tour.
For museum and gallery hours,
please call 305.237.7700
or visit www.mdcmoad.orgor
The MDC Museum and Galleries
of Art + Design are closed
on Sundays, and most legal
and College holidays.

For information on exhibitions,
please call 305.237.7700 or visit or

Admission to exhibitions and
programs is free.
All facilities are wheelchair
Miami Dade College MDC Museum of Art and design DC Museum
Terra Group Grive at Grand Bay Bacardi

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