I'm not sure why I waited until now to touch on the departure of Isabel Toledo from Anne Klein - the news that she had left came and sank withouta ripple in late November last year. Maybe I've been reading these "looking back" posts and features on blogs and magazines and it struck me that no one seemed to mourn this departure much. Partly I suppose because she only did a couple of collections and none of them received fantastic press. Her fall collection was kind of uninspired but I rather liked spring '08 - Ms Toledo has an artisanal touch with clothes, but her designs are also refined and polished. What she did for Anne Klein had that classic American sportwear vibe but it didn't necessarily look like some cliched idea of "classic" (unlike Michael Kors). They were sophisticated but uncomplicated at the same time. I mourn her departure because she didn't really have the time to evolve and craft a new kind of elegance at Anne Klein, to sort of fill the gap in New York between the high-end, established lavishness of Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren, and the quirky young ones like Proenza Schouler and Thakoon. It would also have been nice to see the work of Ms Toledo get more mainstream attention.


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