Toi has come full circle with his learning,
presenting one of his most elegant and restrained collections for
spring 2005, says Phillip D. Johnson
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JENNIFER GRAYLOCK
AND RICHARD SPIEGEL
SEASON, Zang Toi took us to Paris in his tribute to the stylish
Parisian grande dames of the past and present. It was as beautiful
a presentation as I have seen in all my years of attending the fashion
shows at the Bryant Park Tents, and very successful in all areas.
For spring 2005, he stayed closer to home and drew inspiration from
the cool, elegant looks of the rich and famous (of the 50s
and 60s) who spend the cold winter months at the Round Hills
Villas, a vacation paradise on the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
The women he evoked for this collection, the American Grandes Dames,
were the quintessential beauties of their day, and included Barbara
Cushing Mortimer Paley (Babe Paley), one of a member of a loosely
assembled group of four stylish and beautiful women that Truman
Capute referred to as his 'swans'. The others included Slim Keith,
Gloria Guinness, and C. Z. Guest. Mrs Paley was the most exalted,
and without a doubt, the most beautiful) and her much-married sisters.
These women, and their equally rich and famous friends, travelled
the world many times over, but invariably chose to settle, at least
for the winter season, in places like Jamaica where they continued
to entertain in high style friends such as Noël Coward, and
the crème de la crème of Hollywood and the
international high society.
The colour palette he choseblack, white,
platinum, 'Jamaican' red, 'West Indian' pink and 'Caribbean Sky'
bluewas a mixture of waspy elegance merged with the glamour
of old Hollywood, and it worked to perfection. As evidenced by his
most recent collections including this one, Mr Toi has come full
circle in his learning curve. He is now better able to fight his
better nature to go too far over the top, and his restraint in knowing
when there is enough frou frou embellishments on a garment served
him rather well in this collection.