American Morning

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September 18th, 2009
05:27 AM ET

Dressing the first lady

Fashion insiders have known about Isabel Toledo for years – they call her a designer's designer.

But most of America had never heard of her until Michelle Obama walked out on Inauguration Day wearing a lemongrass lace dress and coat designed by Toledo. It made her a household name.

We were there with her on Inauguration day, so eight months later, how's she doing? We went back to pay a visit, and boy, has her life changed.

Check out our behind-the-scenes photos by CNN Producer Ethel Bass.

The famed Inauguration Day dress.
The famed Inauguration Day dress.

Alina Cho talks to Ruben Toledo.
Alina Cho talks to Ruben Toledo.

Alina Cho inquires about the different pieces on display.
Alina Cho inquires about the different pieces on display.
The Toledos taking care of business.
The Toledos taking care of business.
Pieces on display at FIT.
Pieces on display at FIT.
Pieces on display at FIT.
Pieces on display at FIT.
Alina Cho and Isabel Toledo gaze at one-of-a-kind pieces.
Alina Cho and Isabel Toledo gaze at one-of-a-kind pieces.
Pieces on display at FIT.
Pieces on display at FIT.

Filed under: Fashion
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Jacqueline Corbett

    I'd like to comment on the 'anger' and indeed the 'intolerance' toward others that is being displayed by so many these days.

    I have a theory, based upon my own experience with diets, that what we eat, drink and even smoke has a profound, albeit largely unnoticed by us, effect upon our emotions and how we act.

    And that when people consume large quantities of meat and poultry, accompanied by equally large amounts of fats and carbohydrates and dairy products in the form of greasy french fries.... pork sausage, cheese and egg and biscuit breakfast sandwiches... cakes, pies and cookies made with lots of eggs, white flour, milk, butter, and refined white sugar... deluxe pizzas... macaroni and cheese.... and washed down with caffeine laden sugary drinks like Cokes, lattes, and the like... or alcoholic beverages like wine and beer.... that people become walking time bombs.... not only headed for all kinds of earlier and earlier manifestations of degenerative (and totally preventable) diseases like cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, obesity, etc... but also conditions which manifest both mentally and physically such as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, bipolar disorder, possibly Alzheimer's, and in many cases, ANGER! Creating an explosion of various addictions to things like alcohol and drugs... fueling criminal behaviors of all kinds (which we further by feeding our incarcerated criminals largely the same diet!) And driving up the cost of medical care and health insurance costs.

    The reason? ALL of the food items I mentioned: meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, butter and oils, refined flour, refined sugar, alcoholic and sugary caffeine-laced beverages are very acidic in nature... meaning they have a pH of less than 7. They are also typically high in calories, which is why we tend to equate caloric intake with obesity, when in truth its actually the acidic component of the food.

    However, the body requires a BALANCED pH in order to maintain homeostasis and function properly. For this it requires an equal amount of alkaline foods such as green vegetables and low glycemic fruits like berries, apples, etc .... which a growing (in more ways than one) segment of the population is severely lacking in the diet.

    In the process of trying to deal with this overabundance of acidic foods, the body does several things: it encapsulates the acid inside of fat cells, leading to obesity... it traps it inside of plaque, leading to hardened arteries... and it starts withdrawing calcium, which is alkaline, from the bones and teeth, leading to osteoporosis and dental disease. It also leads to cancer, and all kind of mental disorders... including irrational chaotic thinking and anger.

    I've experimented on myself with all kinds of diets over the years... ranging from the eat-anything full of 'comfort foods' standard American diet which is extremely acidic to a 90% raw food diet which is highly alkaline, and it is always amazing to me the profound effect that these various extremes in food consumption have on both my health and my mental state. And I've wandered back and forth enough times over the past 7 years or so to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that for me, eating a balanced diet... or if I've previously eaten a highly acidic diet, eating a diet with THERAPEUTIC LEVELS of alkaline foods is the key to my feeling full of energy, and having a calm, clear and very rational and happy state of mind.

    I am now 69 years young. I haven't been to a doctor in the past 7 years. I take no medicines of any kind... not even over the counter ones. I am full of energy and joy... except for those briefer and briefer periods of time when I choose to go back and experiment with the "standard American diet" by eating ice cream, candy, Cokes, etc. which affects my state of energy, and my mood.

    I am positive that while my experience is 'anecdotal', that I represent a large segment of the population who also would respond in a positive way to modifying their diet.

    And so as the TV cameras pan across the angry demonstrator and attendees at these town hall meetings... or across the aisles of Congress... I can't help notice just how many of these angry people ALSO have bloated faces with double and triple chins with protruding pot bellies... all symptoms of extreme 'acid food intoxication'.

    And the irony of ironies is that they are frequently angrily protesting a health bill... a bill which wouldn't even be necessary if every citizen of this country were to wake up to the fact that their ill state of health was largely caused by their own unbalanced, highly acidic and unhealthy diet.

    Why isn't this more commonly known?

    The answer is quite simple. The science is there (Google ph balanced diet, for example). Bad health is a very very LUCRATIVE commodity!

    If everyone were to become as healthy and happy as I am, that portion of the economy that represents 1/6th of the US Gross National Product, namely doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, over the counter drugs, and insurance companies - would be significantly reduced. Drug addictions and alcoholism would be a thing of the past. Prison populations would go down. Crime would be reduced, and thus police forces would be reduced. The whole criminal justice system would be in "recession".

    It would be wonderful if a large scale study were made of the diets of healthy, long-lived citizens were like. But who has the monetary incentive to fund such a research study??!! It's certainly not the pharmaceutical companies who protect themselves these days from expensive law suits by openly disclosing the dire consequences of taking many of their prescription drugs.

    The ONLY institution with the ability to study 'good health' in such a way would be the government.

    But do we have the will as a people to truly want to give up our addictions to deliciously acidic (and addictive!) foods in order to become a nation of happy, healthy and peace-loving peoples?

    Such a peoples were the Essenes, 2,000 years ago.. They had to hide themselves in caves, and we all know what happened to one of their leaders, Jesus!

    I would like to think that we've advanced since then, and that a large enough group of concerned and awakened citizens is ready to hear and embrace a new healthy and happy reality... growing larger as they are living longer.... and that the meat eating, sugar, fat, and refined carbohydrate consuming 'angry mob' is just an aberrant minority who are eating and drinking themselves into an earlier and earlier grave.

    September 21, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  2. Shanon Rogers

    I love this story– loved the dress and coat, love our first lady, and love mrs.Toledo s work and vision,very inspiring to me.
    Shanon Rogers

    September 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  3. Marsha Slaughter

    I watched this report this morning and really like the necklace that Alina Cho had on with the black. Could you please advise where that necklace came from.

    Thanks you,


    September 18, 2009 at 9:47 am |