Zang Toi flew nonstop to Paris for spring. And he took the woman for whom he designs with him. “She’s strolling through Saint-Germain, stops at a lovely café for coffee and a cigarette, thinks about her lover,” Toi mused. And she’s wearing a trenchcoat, of course.
The designer’s latest collection began accordingly with tailored Yves Saint Laurent-inspired trenches in water-repellent silk poplin, lined in the lightest-weight Loro Piana cashmere, which he also shaped into T-shirts and head scarves. To Toi, “trench” meant anything from double-breasted classics (both hip-grazing and long) to an oversize vest and short kimono-sleeved versions, paired with T-shirts and miniskirts or hip-hugging shorts. All the better to attract her new lover.
Addressing the price of luxury, Toi was unapologetic, saying of his niche customer, many of whom have been wearing his clothes for more than 20 years: “They stay forever. I have ladies for whom price is no issue and who can afford an entire wardrobe from me. The women feel and look beautiful. Equally important — their husbands love how they look in the clothes so are happy to pay the bills,” he laughs.
For evening, Toi’s romance with France continued to Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, where he was smitten with the Japanese bridge and the surrounding violet and lavender hues. It was the cascading wisteria he found most enchanting, referencing it in silk dresses, embraced around the hips or waists with hand-embroidered sequins and ribbons that mirrored those cascades, and in cashmere cardigans dripping with wisteria on the shoulders and arms. One such beauty was rendered in violet over a lilac silk gazar strapless ball gown, bordered in violet. Toi’s trip was first class.