Zang Toi had après-ski in the French Alps, specifically Courchevel, on his mind for fall. The resulting collection revealed a dimension beyond his traditional comfort zone. “It’s a lot more understated this season,” Toi said backstage before the show. “It’s the first time in 25 years I’ve shown a flat [shoe].” Layered knits — plenty of turtlenecks and sweater-knit leggings — were paired with fur vests, mixed with leather for a tunic- and mini-dress combo or studded with oversize, flat-top grommets at the hem, giving the collection an edge. These looked smart and fresh.
Toi returned to more familiar territory with a group of good-looking, slim-cut pantsuits featuring blazers with fur collars, an embellished red-and-black cardigan twinset, and a purple silk blouse trimmed in black lace and paired with an alligator skin pencil skirt.
True to tradition — and the demands of his business — the final segment was evening. Toi went tailored with a black satin trench over trousers and high-glamour with red and purple fishtail gowns and a black brocade column with draped back. These radiated siren. Conversely, an ombré gray-to-black gown with a huge tulle-embroidered skirt offered a dose of ingénue wow — albeit with shades of Scarlett O’Hara.
What detracted from the message were the excessive accoutrements, such as capes and an ostrich stole, and the staging. Toi plays to an adult customer base and styles his models to look the part — no undone waifs here. But the retro modeling — the swirls and twirls — should go. Toi does well on the red carpet, as Eva Longoria, Jordin Sparks and Julie Macklowe are among those who have worn his designs, and toning down the theatrics would likely win him additional fans.