Gobsmacked: Anne Klein Disses Isabel Toledo

Just when you think the Great American Sportswear story is going to have a happy ending, the evil conglomerate rears its bottom line and stinks up the place. Or so that’s what it smelled like with the shocking news tonight that Anne Klein’s parent company Jones Apparel Group is cutting the designer collection and its creative director Isabel Toledo even before the second season could reach store shelves (which it’s not now).
Isabel is one of fashion’s greatest talents (and she and her husband, illustrator Ruben Toledo, whom I snapped here in Paris in early 2005, among the most loved). And the two runway collections she conceived for the newly launched, signature designer line were lauded by critics and retailers alike.
Now it appears that wasn’t enough for the big guns at the top. No indication what will happen to Isabel, who apparently has a year left on her contract.
Perhaps, this latest chapter shouldn’t come as any surprise. Since the founder’s death in 1974, the parade of designers filing through the place reads like a who’s who of fashion, including Patrick Robinson, Donna Karan, Richard Tyler, Louis Dell'Olio and Charles Nolan among others.
It’s a blow all around, both to women who would’ve finally been able to share in Isabel’s distinct aesthetic and for gifted designers who would otherwise have to exchange point of view for a steady paycheck.

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