New York-based Designer Zang Toi Closes Out Fashion Week El Paseo 2014

The highlighted “Designer of the Week” wowed the audience closing night with a theatrical runway performance.

Fashion Week El Paseo 2014 Designer of the Week Zang Toi Collection.

Photo by Gerry Maceda



Designer of the Week Zang Toi concluded Fashion Week El Paseo 2014 with exquisite looks nothing short of spectacular. Opening with a variation of John Legend’s “Giving you all of me,” which seemed to say it all, angelic-looking models graced the runway of the Toscana Country Club Tent in couture gowns inspired by delicate ballet form and aesthetics. Toi’s Spring 2014 concepts calmed the electric crowd, left breathless by ethereal visions dancing in feminine blue fabric and gossamer. Toi’s passion for timeless beauty was apparent in his creation of a simple satin gown adorned with a shimmering silver beaded deco shoulder wrap that draped along the backside — and that was just the beginning. There’s nothing like a grand entrance to set the tone for an evening of luxury and pure elegance.

Earlier in the evening, guests enjoyed a White Night Cocktail Reception hosted by Trilogy at The Polo Club with hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Figue Mediterranean, benefitting Fashion Group International of Palm Springs. From 1960s-style white denim paired with clean oxford shirts to intricately embellished ball gowns in shades of white, the stylish crowd put on a pre-fashion show of their own.

Toi, who recently lost his father, dedicated his deeply personal Fall 2014 collection to his memory, sharing his tradition for excellence. “Paris of the Orient” was the inspiration for the designer’s 1930s Shanghai theme, re-creating the city’s most affluent era with art deco-inspired designs, modernized silhouettes of Qipao and socialite jackets, and statement jewel accessories. Color palettes of brilliant jade, opium, charcoal, gray, and black were featured through custom Loro Piana cashmere, Glen plaid, herringbone, birdseye tweed, and opium brocade to resonate with the extravagance and opulence of the roaring era.

Feminine wide-leg trousers, finely tailored jackets and suits, high-collar embellishments, and ladylike fur cuffs drew attention to haute craftsmanship and details that are oft overlooked — including a jacquard floral ensemble and a bold green ostrich-feather dress reminiscent of a graceful swan. In a unique twist for fall, Toi chose Kelly green as his go-to hue, infusing the vibrant color throughout most of his presentation. 

The crowd seemed to love Toi’s modern takes on traditional wraps, vests, and jackets including a sleeveless leather vest and a bright green Mohair floor-length jacket. Gentlemen were not forgotten, and the audience swooned for a vintage high society outfit with romantic velvet tails, a high waistcoat, and traditional ascot.

Toi drew upon past eras for eveningwear that made a statement: black beaded sheaths and incredible ball gowns with elements of sparkle and art deco detailing. Emerald and crystal-beaded necklines, jewel encrusted clasps, and linings with hints of green under black further enhanced the collection. Toi’s application of dramatic floor-length capes layered over gowns only added to his regal and powerfully feminine aesthetic.

With the magical fashion show coming to a close, Toi walked the runway to acknowledge the audience, which stood in awe as they honored him with accolades that will not soon be forgotten.

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