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Exclusive interview with 2014 Tony Nominee designer Isabel Toledo

Designer Isabel Toledo (L) and artist Ruben Toledo attend the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2014 in New York City
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris

Yesterday on June 8, 2014, was on the red carpet for the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, hosted by Hugh Jackman. The Tony for Best Costume Design of a Musical when to Linda Cho for her work on "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder," but William Ivey Long was nominated for "Bullets Over Broadway," Arianne Phillips was nominated for "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," and Isabel Toledo was nominated for "After Midnight."

We spoke with Toledo on the red carpet. Read our exclusive interview below:

Tell me how did you become involved to design costumes for "After Midnight"?

It was a big surprise! We were approached last June to get involved in the project that was already in the works; two times they had performed it. I got very excited to be a part of it and I said yes. This is the first time I had done anything for Broadway.

Tell me more about the creative process?

It’s about getting inspired, listening a lot to what the director wants and to also look at what the dancing was all about and being inspired by the dancers and making sure that you follow those movements and don’t get in the way of those movements. That era was so incredibly rich. The Cotton Club, that whole cultural scene, poetry, music, dance. It was all one, art. It was a really good time for culture in New York. And we were let loose on this project to just create that world, or recreate it; didn’t try to make it exact, but invent it new so it’s just as fresh as jazz. It’s about the 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s, so it is like jazz; I wasn’t just caught in one era. Which was great.

You have had many superstars come in the show. What is it like to work with them on the costumes?

We get a about a week to get it done, which is quite exciting. It’s very fast paced, it’s a lot of improvising. Luckily, we have got to know each star really really well, whether it’s KD Lang, Vanessa Williams, Toni Braxton, Babyface. It’s a real pow wow, now with Patti Labelle and Gladys Knight. We kind of live with them for a week and they live with us and hopefully we create something fresh.

And Patti Labelle starts Tuesday?

She starts Tuesday, but you’ll see her tonight and Gladys on stage.

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