Felecia Webb, Ruben and Isabel Toledo Photo: Marion Curtis, Starpix
It’s been a whirlwind week for Isabel and Ruben Toledo. After giving an hour-long talk at New York’s French Institute Alliance Française on Monday, they were honored last night for their longstanding support of DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) at the fundraising organization’s Dining by Design dinner gala.
The event was a gala like no otherinstead of a sea of uniform round tables, each table was a dining installation, designed and personalized by luminaries like Aerin Lauder or Ralph Lauren. Event co-chair Tracy Reese, for example, created an intimate setting surrounded by a blue trellis covered in monarch butterflies. “I just wanted to have an element of fantasy and lightheartedness,” she explained to us.
The Toledos, who have worked with DIFFA since it was founded in 1984, recalled the table they created for the first-ever Dining by Design gala back in 1998. “It was done on a shoestring,” Ruben said. “We rented a table, and I painted on tablecloths and made placemats for people it was very low-key.” As for last night’s set-up, he said, “It’s just amazing how the design industry pulls together to create this. It’s like a land of Oz in here.”
So what does the busy duo have next on their plate? “This summer we’re headed to Pilchuck,” Isabel noted, while Ruben chimed in: “It’s Dale Chihuly’s glass schoolwe’re doing an artist-in-residence thing there for a month in the mountains of Seattle.” And next year, he added, “We have a big exhibition coming up at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. It’s my artwork and Isabel’s fashion work, colliding together. It won’t be a retrospectivethis is first time we’ll do an art installation.”