“Ebony And Ivory”

Yesterday, I paid to visit to Zang Toi’s 57th street atelier, to view resort 2008. Both “High Roller” (Zang’s main collection) and the lesser priced “Toi House” (which he started about six seasons ago and quite frankly hardly appears to be ‘less’ of anything) are a study in ebony and ivory. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), both his fabulously chic design headquarters and his fabulously chic apartment, (which was recently showcased within 6 pages of Elle Décor’s March issue, entitled “Hip & Classic”) echo the timeless and always elegant color combo.

The playful, structured, and very body conscious separates which comprise “Toi House” (with wholesale prices ranging from $230 to $1,500) include a terrific mini toggle coat, flawlessly tailored jackets (one with black knitted sleeves that give it the trompe l’oeil illusion of layering), minis, and classic trousers made of bleached cotton canvas. Form fitting sweaters in solid black, ivory, or black and ivory stripes, round out the collection and look sporty, fresh and appealing.

The softer, dressier, and more expensive “High Roller” (which wholesales from $1,000 to $5,000) is fabricated in luxurious silk shantung, silk Dupioni, silk crepe Monaco, and silk organza; hand loomed silk, wool, cashmere sweaters add texture and impart a luxe sportif feeling which has long been a signature of Zang Toi. An ivory cuffed sweater, which has the effect of a vest layered over a shirt, when paired with a form fitting black satin floor length skirt, can be considered a new take on black tie.

Zang’s painstaking and laborious attention to detail (another signature), is evident throughout. To wit, in order to get the exact shades of ivory he desired, he covered some of the Swarovski crystals (which embellish several black jackets and sweaters), with ivory organza. And in order to get the fit of his dresses just right, he used ivory grosgrain ribbon darts.

So, now that resort is now complete, with July upon is, it’s time to think about spring 2008, which will be unveiled during New York Fashion Week in September. While Zang’s show format and venue may still be up for grabs, there is nothing ‘iffy’ about his theme for the next season. He’s very taken with the old English style: ‘think’ Chinoiserie (as evidenced in the 10 panels of hand painted silk organza he had done specifically for him), and a very ‘English’ color palette replete with yellow, peony pink (though he is not totally abandoning black). He is hoping that next week’s trip to Bermuda, to soak up English Colonial color and ambience, will be prolific in both inspiration and sketching.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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