Zang Toi’s Benefit for Race for the Cure

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Fashion designer Zang Toi is going to Austin, Texas on October 13, 2007 where he will ride his bike in a race for the cure for cancer. Zang will be participating in famed cyclist Lance Armstrong’s 40 K bike ride, The Race for the Cure. So on a hot night at the opening of Fashion Week, Zang held a fab party/benefit for The Race for the Cure at Bo Concept at 105 Madison Avenue. Lady Bunny was spinning, cocktails and hor d’oeuvres were dancing through the crowd and Zang was everywhere, greeting the fabulous Patti LaBelle as she and her entourage of sexy body guards arrived in a suitably hip black SUV and working the back room where his models were preparing for a fashion-at-a-party show.

Hot or not, it was a very cool night. Both the clothes (gorgeous flower-themed dresses in fantastic pinks and sophisticated black) and the people were beautiful. And we wish Zang on to a winged victory as flies by Lake Austin wearing his signature kilt and shows Texans just what the fabulous House of Toi can do in a bike.

Written by Wendy R. Williams

Photographed by Katherin Wermke

 Taken from http://www.newyorkcool.com

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Behind the Seams, Dressmaker Zang Toi Is Cleaner Than You—Much, Much Cleaner!

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“I’m going crazy,” said the skirt-wearing designer Zang Toi during an intimate dinner at his Upper East Side pad, fixing his gaze on several dishes in the kitchen sink. “Everything in my apartment—it’s like I use something, I have to put it back; if I use a glass, I clean it and I put it away. I can’t even look at this right now.”

 This was a barefooted affair, intended to raise awareness for Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Challenge charity bike race in October, in which Mr. Toi is competing for the second year. The host served his special chicken curry and sautéed shrimp with string beans. “I cook and I clean the pots as I go along,” he said. But “tonight, there’s so much going on.” Deep calming breaths!

Before dinner, a few attendees poked gingerly around Mr. Toi’s impeccable closet, which has a white side and a black side; any colored items are kept at the designer’s office.

And during the feast Mr. Toi slipped back into his bedroom and moved a silver vase on his mantel an inch or so. “Yes,” he said. “I hate the messy.”

by Spencer Morgan  |  August 7, 2007

This article was published in the August 13, 2007, edition of The New York Observer Taken from www.observer.com 

The babes in Toi-land

Zang Toi hugs former Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett after one of his shows in New York.eva-n-melissa.jpgmelindagates.jpg

Sunday January 7, 2007 from thestartonline

How many Malaysian fashion designers can claim the distinction of dressing some of the most famous women in the world? Zang Toi can, writes CHIN MUI YOON.

 Yet Malaysian fashion designer Zang Toi nearly forgets to talk about this fascinating experience when being interviewed on his success as designer to stars and celebrities.  If he is a little nonchalant, it is perhaps because Melinda Gates is one of his many Very Important Clients whom he has garnered over 18 years of being in the business in New York.  When he finally gets round to telling the story, Zang (as he is popularly known) reveals that he only found out in 1999 that Melinda Gates had been regularly buying his clothes from Nordstrom, the upmarket multi-brand New York department store.  Melinda was planning a millennium party at her home and had contacted Nordstrom to enquire if Zang would be willing to go to her house to specially design her party dress. She had just had her second baby and didn’t want to venture outside.  “I agreed and she flew me to her home the next day. Her assistant waited for me at the airport. When we arrived, Melinda herself opened the door for us,” recalls Zang.  “We only had 45 minutes! I sketched two designs for her and she immediately liked the one with pansies. I made matching shoes and silk pansies for her hair. She later said she wished all her meetings could go as smoothly as ours had.”  

Zang’s ability to make women feel completely elegant and feminine – New York Mag says Zang can be counted on for pure, unadulterated glamour, where “women, old and young, are made to feel like the only women in the room with his dramatic, finely embellished gowns” – is key to his success. 

 Star appeal  Zang’s illustrious clients also include Hollywood actresses Eva Longoria, Sharon Stone, former Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett; singer Patti La Belle and socialite Ivana Trump.  Stone has been a Zang Toi fan for 10 years after noticing the clothes a friend was wearing at a charity fundraiser.   “Sharon thought the clothes were from a European couture designer and was surprised when she discovered it was actually a New York-based Malaysian designer!” says Zang.  In 1997, Stone dropped by at Zang’s boutique on 57th Street after giving a speech at the United Nations building.  “The first thing she said was, ‘What a beautiful showroom this is!’ Then, my boutique was decorated in oriental gold and red,” recalls Zang.  “Sharon said she only had 30 minutes. Then she spotted my blue opera coat and the next thing we knew, she had stayed three hours and the floor was strewn with garments!  “She asked if I could rush two gowns for her and her sister Kelly for an event in Paris the next day. They were supposed to be wearing Valentino, but Sharon decided to switch to my gowns instead! Of course you don’t say no to Sharon Stone!   “The next day, she sent over a gigantic bouquet of red tulips with a note saying, ‘I thought this would look nice in your boutique’,” says Zang.  More recently, Stone wore Zang Toi to the 2006 Oscars.  The latest and youngest celebrity fan is rising star model-turned-actress Devon Aoki, who wore a purple velvet-silk gown with sexy slits for the 2006 Spike Scream Awards.  And contrary to a popular practice by big couture houses, Zang does not offer free gowns to movie stars attending the Oscars.  “It costs up to a million to dress the stars; it’s like a war out there,” explains Zang. “Big fashion houses have spoilt many stars. Now even their stylists expect to get bribed. Thankfully, there are still many celebrities who insist on paying in full and refuse discounts.”  Zang freely admits his clothes are not cheap. A Sea Island cotton (the best you can get) shirt costs US$700 (RM2,457) while his gowns start from US$7,000 (RM24,570).  “Even Joan Collins, one of my first big clients, told me I am ‘a very expensive young man!’ But I believe that you get what you pay for.  

“I use only the finest fabrics available. I buy cashmere from Johnstons of Elgin in Scotland, which is the very best since 1797. My silk is from Italy’s Lake Como area that’s been producing silk since the 14th century, and I use French lace from Lyons. Zang Toi does not only look glamorous, it feels luxurious.” 

 Giving back  Despite the stiff competition and the hard work involved, Zang refuses to take what he does seriously.   “Fashion is fun!” he says. “It’s not a matter of life and death; most people in our industry take it so seriously. Fashion makes people feel good. They want to look beautiful for themselves or for their boyfriend or husband ? fashion is about putting smiles on people’s faces!”  Unusually for a fashion designer, Zang is not into the social scene New York is famous for.  “I don’t do parties, drugs or smoke,” he says earnestly. “If I must attend a function, I go for one hour and then I sneak out. It’s just not my thing!   “What I do love is good food. I go to all the best restaurants in New York or when I’m travelling – that’s where I spend all my money!”  He may not be a party animal but Zang has very cannily developed his own unique style and image. He dresses celebrities but he is a head-turning celebrity in his own right. His trademark: a short skirt showing off well-toned, shapely legs!  That stemmed from his fixation with kilts during a visit to Scotland in 2002 which led to his own little version immediately.  Zang was recently in Charleston, South Carolina, known for its conservative society, to receive an award for his charitable work. He came dressed in a black tuxedo, only to have his hosts insist that he change.  “They told me, ‘You look so adorable and cute in your kilt; don’t think of changing!’ I accepted the award in my kilt and everybody loved it.”  Zang even wore his a kilt over his cycling shorts at Ride for the Roses in Austin, Texas, last October, a 40-mile bike trip to raise funds for seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong’s Foundation in supporting cancer research.  “Lance was checking out my kilt during the ride!” Zang says merrily. “He said, ‘You look so cool,’ and I replied, ‘Maybe we can get you to wear a Zang kilt.’ He answered, ‘You never know, I just might’!”  Armstrong presented a signed cycling helmet to Zang later as the best-dressed participant. Zang hopes to auction the helmet and two signed kilts at the starting price of US$1,300 (RM4,564).   Zang got involved with raising funds for the Foundation two years ago after reading Armstrong’s autobiography of how he had survived cancer. He raised US$50,000 (RM176,000) last year and has sold hundreds of the trademark yellow LiveStrong wristband, of which he sports three on his right wrist.   “I don’t have friends or family with cancer, but I want to do what I can,” he says. “I grew up in a grocery store in a little village. We weren’t super poor, but we never had luxuries or holidays, as my father was always saving money for our education.   “I was very fortunate to grow up with a lot of love from my parents who worked very hard to ensure we had an education. My father told us: ‘All I’m giving you is education; the rest is up to you.’  “For me to be able to accomplish so much is amazing. I was just an immigrant in America. My parents paid for my tuition and since finishing my studies, I have not asked or received a penny from them.  “Life is about giving. If we can give back, why not?”

Pride of the family

 

It was a long and rocky road from Kuala Krai to New York, Zang Toi tells CHIN MUI YOON, and he made it, thanks to his family.

THE International Centre of New York last year honoured Zang Toi with an award given to foreign individuals who have made significant contributions to the United States.  Not bad for a boy from Kelantan whose father, Toi Han Eng, now 81, ran a small grocery store in Kuala Krai and who was 13 when he made his first visit to the “big” city of Kuala Lumpur. (The family moved to Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 10 years ago.)  But as his mother remembers well, her youngest child was an incessant scribbler who loved to draw from a young age.  “When we told him to do his homework, Zang would say his hands were weak; when it came to drawing, they were fine!” recounts Foo Chin Chik, 79.  Zang, whose full name is Toi See Zang, 45, remains rooted to his humble beginnings and maintains very close ties with his family.  Back home for a jam-packed fortnight recently, he managed to take his father to visit their ancestral home in Hainan, China, while juggling a trip to Mumbai, India, to oversee the beading and embroidery work for his upcoming show in New York on Feb 9; holding a private fashion show in KL and meeting clients, including the Raja Perempuan of Kelantan to prepare for a Kelantanese Cuisine Festival planned for the United Nations in April. 

Mama’s boy  Among his parents‘ seven children, Zang was and is still the apple of his parents’ eye, says sixth sibling Toi See Luon.  “Zang always got away with everything,” says See Luon, who manages the boutique in Kuala Lumpur. Zang happily chirps that he was never ever caned, unlike his older siblings.  “While we were growing up in Kelantan, television was a luxury. Instead of doing homework, we used to sneak out at night through the back door to watch Charlie’s Angels on our neighbour’s TV while my father was counting up his takings for the day,” he recalls.  Years later, he dresses a Charlie’s Angel (Farrah Fawcett). But some things never change: “My mother still treats me like the baby of the family!” Zang chortles. 

Seeds of success   Zang knew early that he wanted to do fashion designing although he had toyed with the idea of interior designing or cooking. His parents saved enough to send him to Parsons School of Design in New York, where its alumni include Tom Ford, Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs.  Zang’s achievements were fashioned from sheer hard work most that was unseen. As one of Parsons’ best students, he was recommended a part-time job with designer Mary Jane Marcasiano to earn pocket money.  Zang worked so well he was asked to assist Marcasiano directly.  “They gave me complete freedom and sent me to the factory where I took care of the whole production and design process. I was like a sponge, soaking up everything about fashion designing!” says Zang.  For two years, Zang, then 23, breathed and lived fashion. He attended classes from 9am till 4pm and rushed for the subway to the Marcasiano studio in the SoHo district. While his peers partied and clubbed, Zang laboured from 5pm till early morning.   “So many times I fell asleep on the train. I also worked weekends. My work ethic came from my father, he was so strict and nothing came easy for the family.”  Zang graduated in 1983. Offers came immediately from prestigious fashion houses, among them, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Michael Kors who dangled carrots of fat salaries and a green card.   “I said no thanks because in a small company I could do everything,” says Zang who went on to work with Marcasiano for three more years.  He freelanced for a year when his designs were carried by Martha, one of the best multi-brand salon boutiques in New York that’s credited with launching designers like Valentino and Gianfranco Ferre.  In 1989, Zang sent his sketches of his first collection of 13 dresses to various magazines. The highly influential Vogue magazine spotted the young, unknown designer’s potential and sent for the dresses which appeared in the magazine two months later.  When Zang launched his Spring collection, Vogue carried a big feature on it for its “New Faces” March 1990 issue. That same year, one year after starting his boutique, Zang was awarded the Mouton Cadet Young Designer Award.   “I had a partner who invested US$50,000 (RM176,000) to start our boutique; I didn’t have a dime then!” Zang says. “I was making US$2,500 (RM8,778) yearly, barely enough for my living.   “Martha salon buyers asked me to fill in for a trunk show and promised to get me a big order. I did the show on Park Avenue three days later. Nobody knew me. But I got an order worth US$80,000 (RM281,000) from those two days!   “That show and Vogue had launched my career 18 years ago.”  Many of Zang’s design inspirations are Malaysian, from exotic orchids to the kebaya and batik block designs.  

Near disaster  Despite the early successes, Zang came close to quitting 11 years ago when his partner opted out of the business and he was at a loss.   His brothers came to his rescue. See Luon, who is a trained accountant, and another sibling immediately flew to New York to help their little brother negotiate the terms of splitting the flourishing business and to reorganise things.  “They saved me,” says Zang. “I was ready to give up, close shop and work for somebody. I didn’t know a thing about running a business; I was only familiar with designing.”  See Luon caught the fashion bug and went on to manage the KL boutique and the cafés that followed later in Sungai Wang Plaza and Lot 10.  “My sweetest childhood memory was growing up in a big happy family,” says Zang. “Of course we fought, there were seven of us and six are boys! My parents cooked all the time and we always ate together.   “But I don’t remember ever eating a meal on our own. My parents always invited a friend from a poor family to join us although we didn’t have much. They have both set a good example with their generosity. I give all credit to what I have today to my parents.  “No matter how exhausted or busy my mother was, every night she would spend 20 to 30 minutes to tell us a bedtime story. They were sometimes about how she grew up in difficult times; living through the war, how her mother died when she was only seven, about hard times.   “I always believe that the most fortunate thing I have is the love of my family. It sounds cliché, but it laid a solid foundation for who I am today.”  And the first people who had believed in their little baby had been Zang’s parents. His name, after all, means “winning”.  

Creativity bursting at 57th Street Showroom

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Article from Elledecor.com

Zang Toi’s new home in Upper East Side

Zang Toi recently open his home to Elle decor and find out his obsession…Zang Toi’s obsession with Marie Antoinette

18th-Century-inspired

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Article from Elledecor.com

Zang Toi’s List of Impressive Customers

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Credit goes to:

the-planets.com
sirienjunkies.de
 www.kaputz.com

Zang Toi, The Label

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The Label
Year in and year out, fans of Toi know they can count on the designer for one thing: pure, unadulterated glamour. That plus great, body-flattering silhouettes and beautiful tailoring. The Malaysian designer helps women young and old to feel like the only woman in the room with his dramatic, often finely embellished gowns, dresses and separates, as well as sophisticated but feminine suits. Lately, he’s been appealing to a much younger audience with his new diffusion line, Toi House, featuring playful mini-skirts, baby-doll dresses, and tight sweaters and shirts.

The Look
The bold and the beautiful. Sexy, dramatic, glamorous.

The Designer
Zang Toi is both the owner and designer of his collection.

Who Wears It
He’s a favorite with both older and younger glamour queens, including Ivana Trump, Sharon Stone, Eva Longoria, Debra Messing, Patti Labelle, Farrah Fawcett, Angela Bassett, and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.

Article taken from nymag.com

Fall 2007 Collection at New York Fashion Week

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Pictures taken from http://nymag.com

Breathtaking spring collection from Zang Toi

You got to view this. It is truly captivating