You know there are designers who make clothes to make a living, or to make themselves famous.  Not Zang Toi.  This is a man who loves what he does, and, more importantly, he loves the women he does it for.

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How can you tell?  Well, there’s a joyousness in his designs, a sense of fun, whimsy, whatever you want to call it.  And, when you see him walk the runway at the end of the show, there’s a genuine ear-to-ear grin as he takes in the inevitable standing ovation. And then there’s his very active Twitter.  Do yourself a favor and follow him.  The little 140-character happy updates will make you smile.

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But a designer must put his talent and emotions out there on the runway every season, and that is where Zang truly shines.  For Spring/Summer 2013, it was unending glamour.  It started with cream and a long, luxuriously ruffled dressing gown.  Then came intricately stitched tops and perfectly fitted skirts in the same cream.  He added a dramatic black in the form of pants and skirts and bold, beautiful prints.

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Pinstriped suiting moved things out of the bedroom and into the office.  You could feel already that the collection was building to some kind of crescendo. Summer tweeds, wrapped and draped skirts all took the idea of work wear to an amazing new level.

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Then came summer, with a pink and white  and yellow and white gingham (though it’s hard to label these expensive designs with a kind of down-home farm fabric). Beautiful pastels lightened up the looks for the season:  lavender capris and a big, poufy pink ball gown.

Zang ToiZang ToiZang ToiZang Toi These are truly sophisticated looks for supremely confident women who know what they want, and how to wear them.  To say Zang Toi knows his customer is a huge understatement.   He knows her, he loves her, and she loves him.

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That crescendo did come, for me, in the form of a long, perfectly tailored coat over shorts.  I expected the model to step into a perfect paso doble.

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Zang Toi is the show that no one wants to miss.  The writers love him, the photographers can’t wait to shoot it.  And in the end, as Zang strode the runway with his new muse, vbeaute creator Julie Macklowe, the crowd rose to its feet, and showed him they love him, too.  Like them, I can’t wait to see what he has in store next season.

Photography: Anton Brookes

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