Isabel Toledo, Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress designer, dies at 59

Isabel Toledo, the acclaimed fashion designer best known for creating the dress worn by Michelle Obama at her husband’s presidential inauguration in 2009, has died aged 59.

Toledo’s fashion defied catwalk trends, embracing diversity and difference.

“I’m not a fashion person,” Toledo told CNN in 2012, instead calling herself an “engineer”.

Her husband and professional partner Ruben Toledo said she died of breast cancer.

The two met in secondary school, Ruben claiming he fell in love with Isabel at first sight. It took four years for her to reciprocate, but they married in 1984 and were close professional collaborators, rarely seen apart.

Isabel and Ruben Toledo laughing at an event in 2015Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionIsabel and Ruben Toledo were creative partners throughout their adult lives

As an artist and illustrator, Mr Toledo would sketch his wife’s designs, including the 1960s-inspired shift dress and coat that Michelle Obama wore as her husband was sworn in as US president.

On that historic day in January 2009, the colour of the incoming first lady’s dress was the subject of much debate, with commentators referring to it as yellow, green and gold.

But Toledo defined it as lemongrass, “a very optimistic colour, that had sunshine”, she told the New York Times.

Isabel Toledo pictured in 2014Image copyrightTASOS KATOPODIS
Image captionToledo said fashion was “every woman’s language, every woman’s tool”

Isabel Toledo arrived in the US state of New Jersey from Cuba as a teenager. She had started sewing at the age of eight.

She trained as a fashion designer at the Fashion Institute of Technology and then the Parsons School of Design, before leaving to intern for fashion editor Diana Vreeland.

Isabel Toledo with the model Dovanna Pagowska at a photo shoot in Times Square, New York City, in 1987Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionIsabel Toledo with the model Dovanna Pagowska at a photo shoot in 1987
Presentational white space

Toledo worked as an independent designer, presenting her first collection at a New York nightclub in 1984 and going on to sell pieces in luxury fashion stores across the world.

She told CNN she loved to “engineer a garment. To make this thing work, to make it stand”.

Later, she eschewed the restrictions of the catwalk to produce new collections on her own schedule. She briefly held the post of creative director at Anne Klein from 2006-2007.

Isabel Toledo's collection for Lane Bryant fashion show at the Seagram Building on March 20, 2014 in New York City.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionIsoabel Toledo’s collection for Lane Byrant in 2014

In 2012, she published an autobiography entitled Roots of Style, which was illustrated by Ruben Toledo and recounted their lives together.

Michelle Obama’s decision to wear Toledo at the inauguration symbolised a new era.

“I have always believed in fashion for all – all ages, sizes, and styles accepted,” Toledo told Interview Magazine in 2014. “My ideal happens to be diversity. I love difference. I love change.

“I love experimentation and eccentricities. I like not knowing something and then discovering.”

Isabel Toledo standing next to her plus size designs. displayed on mannequins, for Lane Byrant in 2014Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionIsabel Toledo standing next to her plus size designs for Lane Byrant in 2014
[“source=bbc”]

Fashion revolution in Ireland as dress rental service tackles clothes pollution

Rag Revolution

A woman from Tipperary is taking on the environmental impact of fast fashion by starting her own designer dress rental service.

Edel Lyons, 31, a former marketing executive and fashion blogger started Rag Revolution just three months ago from her bedroom in Dublin, a premium fashion rental service that allows customers to rent dresses for special occasions, paying a fraction of the price, and returning the item when the event is over, helping save money – and the planet.

According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, clothing production has approximately doubled in the last 15 years, while the annual value of clothing discarded prematurely is more than 350 billion euro.

While the average consumer bought 60% more clothes in 2014 than in 2000, people now keep each garment for half as long, and discarded clothing made of non-biodegradable fabrics can sit in landfills for up to 200 years.

Rag Revolution
(Brian Lawless/PA)

Second only to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world, and produces nearly 20% of global waste water.

As the drive to be more environmentally conscious becomes more immediate, Lyons saw a gap in the market for Ireland’s fashion forward to be more sustainable, supporting reuse instead of consumption.

“I had a lot of events over the last three years, balls or weddings and work functions and was struggling to find something a bit different but that wasn’t really expensive, and I didn’t like the fact I was only wearing things once, it wasn’t good for me money-wise or the environment.

“I kept seeing expensive and real statement pieces that I knew if I bought, I wouldn’t wear again. We’re not like our mums’ generation, we don’t keep pieces anymore for a long time.

“With social media having such a presence in our lives, we’re less likely to re-wear outfits, people don’t want to keep wearing these statement pieces because there’s already a picture of them wearing it on Instagram or Facebook, and it sounds awful but that’s how people are now.

I did some research and I couldn’t see anything that offered style that I would wear, and saw the gap and thought; ‘I should do this’

Edel Lyons

“While all this was going on, I was becoming more and more aware of the effect ‘fast fashion’ was having on the world.

“I am very environmentally conscious and I wouldn’t buy a lot of clothes, and stick to key pieces, and that’s how I fell into this idea.

“I did some research and I couldn’t see anything that offered style that I would wear, and saw the gap and thought; ‘I should do this’.”

Rag Revolution offers dresses from designer labels such as Rixo, Reformation, Olivia Rubin and Self-Portrait, who can command up to 400 euro for a dress, and rents them out for as little as 70 euro.

Lyons’ thoughts on the future of the industry runs parallel with economic experts, who predict that the way we think about clothes is about to shift, as the industry moves to cater to sustainability and mindful shoppers.

Recent research by Deloitte revealed over 80% of millennials across Australia, Canada, China, India, the UK and the US say it is important for companies take steps to diminish their environmental impact.

Edel Lyons with dress
Ms Lyons wants to support reuse of clothes (Brian Lawless/PA)

Consumers aged 25-35 are projected to spend 135 billion euro on sustainable goods by 2021.

“I’m quite interested in the industry and they’re predicting in a few years we’re not going to be buying clothes like we are now,” Lyons added. “We’re all headed toward buying key pieces, good jeans and boots – things like that, but you’re not going to have a wardrobe full of dresses from the high street or occasion-wear.

“At this rate the industry can’t keep going as it is, even in regard to the disposal of clothes. 90% of fashion go to a landfill and aren’t recycled. It’s on a lot of people’s minds now about how and where they shop, people used to want to have loads of clothes, but that’s a thing of the past, people are looking for something more sustainable.

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this and I just took the leap, it’s not for the fainthearted but it’s really satisfying, I’d tell anyone who has an idea to just go for it.”

[“source=virginmediatelevision”]

20 of the best men’s dress shoes and boots available during Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale

Nordstrom men's shoes

Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is finally here. As the store’s biggest sale of the year, thousands of brand new items are marked down as if they were on clearance – so you can certainly expect them to start flying off of shelves.

Now through July 18, Nordstrom cardholders can gain early access to savings in categories like fashion, home, and beauty. From July 19 through August 4, the rest of the public will have access to the sale – and on August 5, the prices will go back up.

One of the first categories to sell out during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is footwear, so you don’t want to wait until the final days of the sale to shop, as your size will likely be sold out. To help you shop for men’s shoes and bootsquickly, we rounded up 30 of the best pairs on sale, below.

Shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale now.

You can also check out other Nordstrom Anniversary Sale deals for each of the following categories.

  • Men’s deals
  • Women’s deals
  • Beauty deals
  • Home deals
  • Kids deals

See our top 20 men’s dress shoe and boot picks:

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Find all the best offers at our Coupons page.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

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To Boot New York Brandon Cap Toe Oxford

To Boot New York Brandon Cap Toe Oxford

To Boot New York Brandon Cap Toe Oxford, $263.90 (after sale $395) [You save $131.10]

Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxford

Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxford

Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxford, $259.90 (after sale $395) [You save $135.10]

Cole Haan 2.ZERØGRAND Wingtip

Cole Haan 2.ZERØGRAND Wingtip

Cole Haan 2.ZERØGRAND Wingtip, $159.90 (after sale $300) [You save $140.10]

Magnanni Marco Plain Toe Monk Shoe

Magnanni Marco Plain Toe Monk Shoe

Magnanni Marco Plain Toe Monk Shoe, $233.90 (after sale $350) [You save $116.10]

Timberland Kendrick Waterproof Chukka

Timberland Kendrick Waterproof Chukka

Timberland Kendrick Waterproof Chukka, $106.90 (after sale $160) [You save $53.10]

Nordstrom Men’s Shop Alton Chukka Boot

Nordstrom Men's Shop Alton Chukka Boot

Nordstrom Men’s Shop Alton Chukka Boot, $79.90 (after sale $124.95) [You save $45.05]

Cole Haan Warren Cap Toe Derby

Cole Haan Warren Cap Toe Derby

Cole Haan Warren Cap Toe Derby, $129.90 (after sale $200) [You save $70.10]

Allen Edmonds McAllister Wingtip

Allen Edmonds McAllister Wingtip

Allen Edmonds McAllister Wingtip, $259.90 (after sale $395) [You save $135.10]

Magnanni Mundo Diversa Plain Toe Chukka Boot

Magnanni Mundo Diversa Plain Toe Chukka Boot

Magnanni Mundo Diversa Plain Toe Chukka Boot, $249.90 (after sale $375) [You save $125.10]

ECCO Classic Moc II Venetian Loafer

ECCO Classic Moc II Venetian Loafer

ECCO Classic Moc II Venetian Loafer, $99.90 (after sale $149.95) [You save $50.05]

Cole Haan Wakefield Grand Chelsea Boot

Cole Haan Wakefield Grand Chelsea Boot

Cole Haan Wakefield Grand Chelsea Boot, $139.90 (after sale $240) [You save $100.10]

Nordstrom Men’s Shop Remy Monk Strap

Nordstrom Men's Shop Remy Monk Strap

Nordstrom Men’s Shop Remy Monk Strap, $79.90 (after sale $124.95) [You save $45.05]

Allen Edmonds Higgins Mill Plain Toe

Allen Edmonds Higgins Mill Plain Toe

Allen Edmonds Higgins Mill Plain Toe, $259.90 (after sale $395) [You save $135.10]

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxford

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxford

Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain Toe Oxford, $259.90 (after sale $395) [You save $135.10]

To Boot New York Shelby Chelsea Boot

To Boot New York Shelby Chelsea Boot

To Boot New York Shelby Chelsea Boot, $264.90 (after sale $398) [You save $133.10]

Cole Haan Lovell 2 Loafer

Cole Haan Lovell 2 Loafer

Cole Haan Lovell 2 Loafer, $99.90 (after sale $160) [You save $60.10]

Magnanni Ryan Double Monk Strap

Magnanni Ryan Double Monk Strap

Magnanni Ryan Double Monk Strap, $263.90 (after sale $395) [You save $131.10]

Cole Haan Harrison Grand Penny Loafer

Cole Haan Harrison Grand Penny Loafer

Cole Haan Harrison Grand Penny Loafer, $139.90 (after sale $220) [You save $80.10]

Johnston & Murphy Campbell Wingtip

Johnston & Murphy Campbell Wingtip

Johnston & Murphy Campbell Wingtip, $129.90 (after sale $198) [You save $68.10]

Salvatore Ferragamo Tapas Bit Loafer

Salvatore Ferragamo Tapas Bit Loafer

Salvatore Ferragamo Tapas Bit Loafer, $441.90 (after sale $660) [You save $218.10]

Bold colours for men’s dress shoes

The rise of sneakers as an enduring fashion trend has one major side effect: Dress shoes have slipped under the radar. Be it classic Oxfords or leisurely loafers, dress shoes are giving way to casual lace-ups even in formal settings like the office or a soiree. Men themselves are partly to blame, limiting their choice of dress shoes to basic neutrals. But colour is an instant short cut to a standout shoe. As Giuseppe Santoni, CEO of luxury footwear brand Santoni, says, “Colour, together with design and proportion, is a very important element (in shoes)”.

While black and tan dress shoes are traditionally integral to men’s closets, offbeat shades like sky blue, forest green, beige and grey are now emerging. Brands such as Prada and Berluti are experimenting with ombré and tonal techniques; on the other hand, British fashion brand Alexander McQueen offsets minimal black leather shoes with a look-at-me yellow platform sole. Shoemaker Christian Louboutin goes further, elevating his designs with floral motifs, glitter, studs and multicoloured patterns.

Sky-blue loafers from Santoni.
Sky-blue loafers from Santoni.

At Santoni, shoemakers employ a long-standing signature technique. “We have created a technique where we add different layers of colour to give (the shoes) depth and uniqueness,” he says, adding that colour is the brand’s way of combining traditional craftsmanship with fashion.

The most effective way to wear these shoes? Turn the attention to your feet, and keep the rest of your outfit neutral. Monochrome ensembles or shades of the same colour are big this season—seen on the Spring/Summer 2019 runways of Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio Armani and Acne Studios—and another great way to try the trend.

[“source=livemint”]

The best places to buy dress shoes for women

It is simply the case that one can never own too many pairs of shoes, and when it comes to work-appropriate shoes, the “correct” number of pairs is practically infinite. Of course, finding a pair of flats or so-called modest heels that are both attractive and acceptable to the corporate powers that be can be a bit of a challenge. But with some help from our favorite office-ready shoe purveyors, you may want to keep your shoes close and your credit card closer.

When picking a great pair of work shoes, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, are they comfortable? If you’re already feeling pinched at work, the last thing you need is to have shoes that are literally pinching your feet as well. After all, it’s difficult to feel empowered when you’re constantly bending over to adjust your strap or massage your heel.

You’ll also want to keep heel heights in mind. While I prefer to live about four inches above my natural height, I would also prefer to sleep and pet cats for a living. Alas, in order to be part of the professional world, it seems that society has dictated that I live in heels of a more moderate one-to-two-inch height. Also important to consider is the width of your heel. As impressive as your ability to teeter totter around on a one-inch circumference may be, that’s probably not something that you can (or should) put on a resume or to the test in your office. Luckily, you don’t need to be in stilettos to pull off a killer look.

Furthermore, you may want to consider your preferred work shoe color. While black, nude, and the occasional navy shoe are common suspects, it’s also well worth adding a pop of color to your wardrobe with some more creative hues. Don’t shy away from white, either – sure, they’ll show dirt a bit more easily, but let’s be honest, in your sterile office environment, you’re not really at risk of getting things particularly dirty.

Regardless of which of our favorite office-appropriate shoe purveyors you decide to shop in, we’re sure that you’ll have a decidedly professional (and fashion-forward) experience.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

The best dress shoes for women overall

The best dress shoes for women overall

Why you’ll love it: Everlane’s classic collection of shoes are ethically sourced, responsibly made, and will keep you moving throughout the day.
When it comes to the professional woman’s wardrobe, few brands are better represented than Everlane. It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a decade since the company was founded, but in its nine years of existence, Everlanehas proven that cutting out the middleman and employing responsible sourcing and manufacturing practices are both great for business, and better still for fashion. And that’s certainly no exception when it comes to the brand’s beautiful collection of shoes.

What I love best about Everlane’s collection is its rather manageable size. Sure, there are still more than enough options from which to choose, but you won’t spend hours upon hours scrolling through seemingly endless variations of what ultimately looks like the exact same shoe. Rather, in keeping with the brand’s broader ethos, the shoe collection is straightforward and elegant, offering elevated basics at reasonable prices.

If you’re looking for a simple yet chic flat, look no further than the Day Glove, one of Everlane’s perennial best sellers. Available in a wide range of colors, this ballet flat is incredibly comfortable and looks fantastic paired with a pair of slacks or just about anything else. As it turns out, wearing a heel is not a prerequisite for looking put together, and the Day Glove proves just that.

Taking the Day Glove up a notch is the Day Heel, which incorporates a two-inch block heel with the same beautiful design and fit as its flat sibling. I love its back pull tab, side vents, and cushioned insole, all of which make this heel easy to put on and easy to keep on. Plus, this shoe comes in a wide range of colors that span the classic suspects like black, rose, and bone as well as the bolder options like bright red, bronze, and other metallic offerings.

I’m also in love with the Editor Heel, a sleek kitten heel that looks effortlessly sharp with its miniature stiletto. While it runs a bit big, the soft, Italian leather material may just convince you that this is the last pair of heels you’ll ever need.

None of Everlane’s heels go above two inches, which makes them extremely comfortable and wearable all the livelong day, and most styles come in both leather and suede versions to fit your personal aesthetic.

Pros: Incredibly comfortable, ethically made, manageable selection of styles

Cons: If you’re looking for a higher heel, Everlane may not deliver

The best work-to-weekend dress shoes for women

The best work-to-weekend dress shoes for women

Why you’ll love them: Madewell shoes are perfect both in and out of the office, won’t break the bank, and are definitely comfortable.
I was a Madewell fangirl before I joined the workforce, and now, I’m a Madewell fan-professional. Not only does the retailer offer a fantastic selection of work appropriate clothing, like cardigans, dresses, and trousers, but it also has one of the chicest and accessible shoe collections I’ve found for the younger demographic.

With great options for both the summer and the winter, Madewell’s shoes are, as you might imagine, well made, and reasonably priced, with most coming in at less than $130.

What I particularly appreciate about Madewell is its ability to turn classic shoes into fresh, modern offerings. Take, for example, the all-important loafer. While Madewell certainly offers this staple pair in your usual black leather, there are also a few updated options. My personal favorite is the Crackle Metallic version, which is just bright enough to catch your eye, but not so aggressive that you’ll feel the need to hide your feet any time a senior partner comes around.

If you’re looking for a great pair of mules, Madewell certainly has you covered. These shoes come in a wide range of heels, prints, and colors, which means you can dress up or dress down your professional wardrobe however you see fit. I also love the solid craftsmanship of these shoes. The pair I own has more than withstood the tests of time, weather, and situation.

Pros: Modern takes on classic styles, inexpensive, wide selection of colors and prints, available in stores and online

Cons: The dressiest of office environments may not be well-served by Madewell shoes

The best work-appropriate boots for women

The best work-appropriate boots for women

Why you’ll love it: If I could only wear one type of shoe for the rest of my life, it would be a pair of boots, and they would probably come from M. Gemi.
You may not think you’re fancy enough to buy Italian-made shoes, but M. Gemi is here to prove you wrong. The direct-to-consumer brand is best known for its beautiful loafers and flats, but as it turns out, the high-quality footwear company also makes some of the most beautiful ankle boots that you’ve ever seen. If you’ve ever questioned whether or not boots are work appropriate, M. Gemi is answering with a resounding “yes.”

Made in artisan Italian workshops with almost unbelievably soft leather or suede, the Corsa ankle boot is not only insanely comfortable, but extremely versatile as well. The beautiful silhouette has a fitted shaft and sleek sole, and looks fantastic paired with a sharp pair of cigarette pants or a dress.

While it takes some time to break in a pair of boots or any pair of work shoes, this simply isn’t the case with M. Gemi. Its products are ready to wear right out of the box, and I’ve literally never gotten a blister from its shoes, even after very long work days. Plus, with the just-over-two-inch heel height, you won’t feel as though you’re at risk of falling and breaking your neck when you’re running from meeting to meeting.

If you’re not into the boots look, you could also check out the famous Stellato Sacchetto. The company’s constant best seller, this pointed flat has a soft suede upper, a tiny heel, and an effortless sophistication. The shoe quite literally wraps your foot in comfortable leather, and comes in a range of surprising colors that rotate out by season.

As it stands, I love the sage color, but M. Gemi is always coming up with new earth tones that never go out of style.

Pros: Truly quality craftsmanship, beautiful and comfortable material, warm inviting earth tones, unique look

Cons: M. Gemi shoes do come at a premium, but they’re worth it

The best dress shoes for women who like variety

The best dress shoes for women who like variety

Why you’ll love it: If you believe more is more when it comes to shoe options, then dive right into the crazy shoe world that is J. Crew.With a seemingly endless roster of styles, colors, and patterns, J. Crew is truly the shoe lover’s dream come true. While this may sound a bit overwhelming, I appreciate that J. Crew’s website allows you to narrow down your choices based on the kind of shoe that you’re looking for.

A particular treasure trove, I’ve found, is its heels department, where you can find elevation of the slim or chunky variety, the miniature or stiletto variety, or just about anything in between.

The Elsie Suede Pump is a personal favorite of mine. Think of it as the shoe that every woman needs in her closet, what with the slightly curved heel that is generously sized at 3.5 inches, and the perfectly pointed toe. I find this pair to be especially useful on presentation days, when I’m looking for a bit of additional lift.

The fact that J. Crew has both IRL and online presences certainly makes shopping considerably easier, especially considering the size of its shoe catalogue. I’ll often scour the internet for a pair I like, then go to my friendly neighborhood store in order to take it for a test run. And of course, with different selections in different stores, shopping is always a fun surprise.

Pros: Huge selection of shoes, higher heels available, ease of shopping either online or in-stores

Cons: Some J. Crew shoes can get pretty pricey, but there are also less expensive options to offset those pairs

[“source=businessinsider”]

Bebe Rexha can’t find a designer to dress her for the red carpet: ‘My size 8 ass is still going to the Grammys’

Bebe Rexha can’t find a designer to dress her for the Grammy Awards next month — because she is “too big.”

The singer, who is nominated in the Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance categories, took to social media on Monday to explain her predicament three weeks before music’s big night, revealing she’s struggling to find an outfit.

“A lot of times artists will go and talk to designers, and they’ll make them custom dresses to walk the red carpet…” the Meant to Be star says in a video posted to Instagram. “I had my team hit out a lot of designers, and a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big.

Bebe Rexha attends the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on November 8, 2018 in New York City. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

“If a size 6/8 is too big then I don’t know what to tell you. Then I don’t want to wear your fking dresses… To all the people that said that I’m thick… fk you, I don’t want to wear your fking dresses.”

Bebe captioned the video: “Im sorry, I had to get this off my chest. If you don’t like my fashion style or my music that’s one thing. But don’t say you can’t dress someone that isn’t a runway size. We are beautiful any size! Small or large! Anddddd My size 8 a is still going to the Grammys.”

She isn’t the first real-size celebrity to speak out about the red carpet snobbery surrounding designers refusing to dress certain body types — comedian Leslie Jones took aim at the fashionistas when she couldn’t find anyone to dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere in 2016 — she took to Twitter to voice her disdain, writing: “It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything.”

She refused to name the designers she reached out to, but Christian Siriano stepped forward and offered to dress her, stating: “I love Leslie and can’t wait to make her something fabulous to wear. I dress and support women of all ages and sizes.”

Embedded video

Bebe Rexha

@BebeRexha

Im sorry, I had to get this off my chest. If you don’t like my fashion style or my music that’s one thing. But don’t say you can’t dress someone that isn’t a runway size. We are beautiful any size! Small or large! Anddddd My size 8 ass is still going to the Grammys. #LOVEYOURBODY

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