The architecture in Buenos Aires mixes the old with the new, soaring glass office buildings alongside Baroque cupolas. The city’s foremost fashion architect (and founder of La Escuela de Diseñadores Mariano Toledo), does the same with his clothing designs. Patent leather and jet-bead details add a tough edge of urban shine to his flowing, feminine designs in muted colors for day; his evening collection fuses sleek, shiny fabrics with a soft structure and geometric construction. “It's very intersting to be able to talk about, 'soft structures,' a construction that's geometric and 'volumetric,'" he says from his exclusive boutique in Palermo SoHo.The designer (who studied architecture in his university days) known in the local press as the “architect fashionista” always knew he would have a life in fashion, beginning with his obsession for drawing typical costumes from different cultures, especially the Spanish and Dutch with their layers and lace.
Toledo, who counts tough female musicians like La Mala Rodriguez among his favorites, drew inspiration for his current collection from the protagonist of Zhang Yimou’s House of Flying Daggers. Toledo’s elegant warriors marched the runway at Buenos Aires Fashion Week in kimono-style jersey dresses with exaggerated shoulders, waists cinched with patent leather or beads. On almost every piece was a mandala, centered in the back of a top or the hip of a jacket, or stamped onto the arch of a stiletto bootie.