Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Magical Illustrations of Ruben Toledo

I love good illustration. Maybe it's because my mother got a degree in illustration from RISD, and she was always doodling fantastic faces and creatures on her grocery lists and notes for me and my siblings. Any which way, one of the many talented illustrators whose work I appreciate is that of Cuban-born Ruben Toledo. His fashion illustration has graced the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, and has been used regularly by Nordstrom. His drawings are beloved by many, and are very much worthy of a blog post! Take a look at some of his colorful creations:

 {One of his covers for Nordstom's magazine}

{I love his incredible backdrops for this Nordstrom shoot, featuring gowns by Oscar de La Renta (L) and Versace (R)! Will Toledo one day design wallpaper? I certainly hope so!}

{Here's another from the same shoot, with a Roberto Cavalli dress. Hello, talent!}

{From the cover of The Fashion Almanac, a book celebrating Toledo's ten years of collaborative work with Nordstom. Available here}

{From The Fashion Almanac}

{I love the feminine, dreamy quality of this scene.}

One of the things I appreciate about Toledo's work is the way his playful, romantic free spirit comes through.

 {More from Nordstrom}

{For Vogue}

{Toledo's wonderful caricatures of fashionistas, including Karl Lagerfeld, whom you can't miss!}

{As you can see, Toledo drew this for the cover of Penguin's edition of Bronte's Wuthering Heights.}

{And this creative collection of silhouettes and scenery for Penguin's edition of Austen's Pride and Prejudice (one of my favorite books!)}

Something fascinating I discovered in the process of writing this post is that when Googling 'Ruben Toledo wikipedia,' he (or someone) arranged for the site to redirect searchers to his wife's Wikipedia page. And if you type 'Ruben Toledo' into the Wikipedia search box from his wife's page, it takes you right back to that page! I guess the two really are one. His wife, Isabel Toledo, is also a very talented artist and fashion designer, famous for (among many other creations) the Lemongrass dress worn by Michelle Obama.

 {Here's a drawing of Isabel by Ruben. She's gorgeous!}

In fact, the two of them are the cutest pair around, and they collaborate creatively. (Apparently they met as teenagers in Cuba. Does the cuteness ever end??)

{The hugely talented couple, Isabel and Ruben Toledo}

Here's an unforgettable quote from Ruben, on the subject of being an artist: 
"You must do what you love, even when no one else is loving it. In fact, that's when it counts the most..."

 {A photo of the couple by Janette Beckman from Paper Magazine back in 1986}

Here's a wonderful interview with Isabel Toledo, which includes details about her history and life with her husband. And here's another from The New Yorker.

{They're adorable!! Photo by Karl Lagerfeld}

 {I repeat, ADORABLE!!}


  1. Indeed, they are totally cute! I love their playfulness. The owl and girl is is the Wuthering Heights cover. His art is very appealing, and so is their life.

  2. It seems more common that an artist's life OR his/her artwork are appealing, not both. But I agree, their life together seems as charming as their art.