Zang Toi, a NYC-based designer preferred by celebrities like Sharon Stone and Eva Longoria, is making his way to Louisville's own Glasscock Boutique August 25th - 27th to showcase his Fall 2011 collection. Toi is one of very few designers to have received a standing ovation during New York’s Fall Fashion Week this year for his masterful blending of camel, black and emerald green with choice autumn fabrics such as velvet, taffeta, and wool with fur accents. His flair for the dramatic drew looks of longing from the fashion-forward crowd as his Swarovski crystal combination choker-necklace sparkled enticingly under the runway lights.
Toi is not one of the silent designers who hide behind the stage at a show or appear statuesque in social gatherings (ahem, Lagerfeld). Rather, he is known for his bright smile and the twinkle in his eye, the sort of twinkle that makes you feel as though he’s in on a fabulous secret and cannot wait to share it with you. This exuberance and enthusiasm for his chosen career were palpable as he and I chatted about his fall line, his upcoming trunk show in Louisville, and where he finds inspiration for the timeless, elegant designs he is celebrated for.
I rang Toi at 5pm on a Thursday and was promptly transferred to his direct line. Momentarily I was silent – on the other end of the line was the man whose finale dress was worn by Jill Zarin of Real Housewives of New York fame. He dressed Eva Longoria in the outrageously sexy peacock feather dress that turned heads in Cannes. He even designed Melinda Gates’ millennium dress... When he broke my nervous silence by asking me how my day had been I fell instantly in love. Zang Toi is humble man who appreciates his fans, his accomplishments, and his ability to make his customers, who he deems his "ladies," feel beautiful.
Toi was rumored to have sketched the $30,000 finale gown of the Fall 2011 collection in fewer than 20 minutes. I asked if he ever encounters "sketcher's block" when he's working on designing a season, and he said, surprisingly, no. He could be anywhere – an ornate New York City hotel lobby, a pristine beach in Bali, even somewhere as simple as café or restaurant in a foreign city – and he’ll be inspired to translate the beauty that emanates around him into a gown that is equally inspiring.
Toi recently won an award for his contribution to the field of fashion and his success as an Asian role model, and as I congratulated him on this achievement I asked him what else he has accomplished in his career that he is most proud of. He was recently honored as one of VIVID Magazine’s Top 8 most influential Chinese Americans, which was deeply humbling. This list of honorees spans education to politics, and Toi was overwhelmed with gratitude to be chosen for the Fashion category.
He admits he is incredibly fortunate to be able to travel the world to find inspiration, so I inquired as to what he had seen in his recent travels to inspire his Spring 2012 collection. He explained how recent tragedies such as the café bombing in Marrakech and the ongoing peril in the Middle East influenced the mood and color of the upcoming season, but will not be so somber as to take away from his trademark ability to combine glamour with sophistication.
Toi believes that proper tailoring is the key element in creating beautiful clothing, so you will be hard-pressed to find a House of Toi garment off the rack. This is one of the reasons he is adored by his Louisville following as well as the jet-set crowd; he takes pleasure in ensuring that his "ladies" look and feel their most glamorous by tailoring to get the most flattering fit. For a self-proclaimed “simple, easy guy” Toi is uniquely able to create complex gowns with breathtaking silhouettes and exquisite fabrics, and for that we are grateful!
For more information on Zang Toi's upcoming visit to Louisville, the final stop of his Fall 2011 trunk show, please contact Todd Calvert 502-544-8382.
Check back on Monday August 22nd when I post all of the details of Glasscock's exciting opening of a secondary location at Louisville's Crowne Plaza to service visitors of the World's Championship Horseshow at the Kentucky State Fair. More information is available in the meantime by calling Glasscock at 502-895-0212.
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