Designers can count on at least two things in fashion to bring them a healthy amount of press these days: dressing Michelle Obama and a diffusion line for a discount chain. Isabel Toledo already dressed the First Lady in lemongrass for the inauguration, and now she’s launching a diffusion line for Payless in September. Payless has done lines with Christian Siriano and Alice + Olivia, but Toledo is the first established designer to work with the brand.
Toledo was the creative director of Anne Klein until Jones Apparel Group shuttered it. She ought to bring a certain sophistication to Payless, and her clothes can be found at high-end stores like Barneys. She resides in a sprawling apartment in midtown that’s nothing short of fabulous, but Payless has given her a taste of how the other half lives.
“My business is quite couture and precise,” she said. “This is taking into account all different lifestyles. In a way, it’s the closest thing to real life for me. And I feel like I’m all of these women.”
The line includes flats, square heels, and “stylish galoshes,” all retailing for less than $40, according to WWD. After Siriano’s soaring talon shoes, that place could use some sensible things for the feet of the masses, many of whom want to be able to, you know, walk. And stand.