25 YEARS OF GLAMOUR
I’m not sure there is a designer more loved by the people filling a tent, twice a year, at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week than Zang Toi. The photographers love him for a couple of reasons: the beautiful pictures his designs provide, and the delicious boxed lunches he hands out to everyone on the riser. I’ve spoken before about the sandwiches, water and apples in those boxes. It sounds like a small snack, but to everyone who receives one, it is a gentle gesture of kindness.
The audience at his shows love him because he is Zang Toi, to all appearances a humble man who puts some of the most elegant, magnificently complex designs down the catwalk.
This season represents 25 years for the House of Toi. That’s 25 years of wowing his fans into a standing-ovation frenzy, every six months. It’s 25 years of dressing models, celebrities, all kinds of women, and men, in fantasy-worthy designs. So, to mark his 25th year, Zang Toi created a kind of thank-you card to the women who love his every stitch.
It started with black and white knits and sleek, black leather. Stripey, sporty dresses gave way to perfectly tailored suits and even a long, luxurious cape. Then came the colors: bold red and white stripes in blazers for men and women, solid red over black, deep, deep purple and rich emerald green.
Zang Toi’s tailoring is beyond compare, with jackets cut so precisely, wide-legged pants flowing, yet perfectly fitted. But for me, emotions rise with his evening wear. His gowns bring out the Cinderella in all of us, from a halter-neck ball-gown in a purple print with a delicate, black overlay to a sparkly, tiered black velvet embellished in his gorgeous purple. A full, black and white chevron design was not for the faint of heart, while skin-tight slender black dresses showed off every curve.
The theme of this season’s Zang Toi runway was “A Privileged Life: The American Dream.” I wondered, when I saw it, if Zang knows just how much of a privilege every invite to his shows is for us who cover him. With “Coming to America” playing in the background and the photographers trying to force him to receive their thanks in the form of an anniversary cake, it’s clear Zang Toi is living his American Dream. And what an honor for all of us to watch from the sidelines as his dream plays out.
Photography: Anton Brookes