Archive for the ‘toi’ Tag

Toi’s pad – The flamboyant designer from the Malaysia’ East Coast sets up home in Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side.

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THE boy from Kelantan has set a new gold standard for himself. Again. “Glamour! That’s it, if you need one word to describe my apartment,” said Zang Toi, who, after 26 years of hard work in New York, finally has a place of his own. 

 Very French-inspired, Toi’s entire 120sq m (1,300sq foot) apartment is decorated in black and white, with touches of charcoal.   It was, according to the designer, a modern take on the Louis XV period.  “I wanted it to look like a gorgeous black-and-white photo of Versailles.”   The 1901 digs was originally the home of the man who owned the Remington typewriter company, who died in the 1960s.   It is located in a posh address at Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a stone’s throw from Central Park. 

Even New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg owned a property located just a few minutes walk from Toi’s pad, and New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer has a home nearby, too. 

 There is a fireplace in Toi’s living room, dominated by two life-sized black-and-white portraits of Marie Antoinette.   The tall windows did not require drapes, Toi said, as he pulled out a little shutter to illustrate his point. 

A magnificent late 18th Baccarat chandelier from Paris hangs in the living room. “It was originally in gold, but I had it stripped and re-plated with silver.” 

Also in his living room is a little photo gallery where he displayed pictures of his family. In black and white, of course. One photograph featured him being conferred an award by the Sultan of Kelantan. 

 Toi’s bedroom features a similar fireplace. The rugs in both rooms are silky smooth; they are black and silver fox rugs, respectively.  His china dinnerware looks quite a prized collection. Toi had them custom-made and hand-painted by Herend of Hungary.   Even the knobs on the white lacquered kitchen cabinet were custom-made. Toi has a collection of silverware from London, too.  

The outcome of his personal decorating has been awesome. A wealthy client of his has since offered to buy his one-bedroom apartment lock, stock and barrel, at any price Toi wanted. 

 “When she saw my place, she asked me if I wanted to sell it exactly as it is, with all the furniture,” he said.  The answer was “no”, at least for the moment. “This is my home now. I have looked over at least 100 apartments before I settled on this one. A lot of love has gone into it. I want to enjoy it for now.”  He spoke of how he had often told himself to buy his own place.  “But I never came across something that I really liked. I was never in a rush, though. I would rather wait for the perfect place.”  Then an advertisement came along, which declared the digs as “Paris in New York”.   “I walked into this apartment and it was like love at first sight. It has great ‘bones’. I knew I could do a lot with this place.”  Before he even began renovations, someone offered him US$2.5mil (RM8.3mil) for the place.  He moved into the apartment almost two years ago, after 10 months of extensive renovation and decorating.  “The height of the ceiling and the way it was decorated ? I thought I was waking up at a suite in the Ritz in Paris,” he said of those early days under his own roof.  Incidentally, his bed is the most indulgent piece of furniture. The mahogany Francois Linke bed, which he bought from an antique shop in New Orleans, was given a new coat of black lacquer.   Toi’s hectic work schedule means that he gets to spend only about five to six months at his apartment as the rest of the year is taken up by travelling and working.  But if he is in town, his routine is to take a long shower in his all-white marble bathroom once he arrives home from work.   During this interview, music from Chet Baker, the jazz singer and trumpeter wafted throughout the apartment. 

“If I want something more upbeat, it would be Coldplay,” he said. 

 Toi loves living alone. “I like my space. My schedule is so hectic that after a long day, I just need that time to myself.”   It is also partly due to his background. Growing up the youngest of seven siblings, he remembered that room-sharing was a common practice until he was about nine, when he got a tiny bedroom to call his own.  

“Maybe that’s why I am just so used to having my own space.”  

 By FOO YEE PING  from thestar.com.my Sunday January 6, 2008

For a cause

ZANG Toi isn’t just about making fabulous dresses. When he has time to spare, he is diligently raising funds through his “Team Toi” for the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s fight against cancer.   Late last year, Toi held a charity fashion show, which included an auction that raised US$50,000 (RM165,000).  A limited edition bicycle autographed by the legendary cyclist fetched the highest bid at US$6,000 (RM19,700).  Another lucky bidder was Allan Teh, a Malaysian who works in hedge funds. He won a home-cooked dinner for three, personally prepared by Toi, at the designer’s posh apartment.  About 200 guests bought tickets priced at US$300 (RM990) and US$1,000 (RM3,290) to attend the charity fashion show.   Special guest singer Patti LaBelle thrilled the audience with a soulful rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow(Toi has been LaBelle’s regular dressmaker for the past three years.)  And, of course, Toi’s favourite model (and one of Malaysia’s most well-known), Ling Tan, was present.  “He (Armstrong) is a good friend ? I will always support him,” she said.  Toi began raising funds for the foundation three years ago after reading about Armstrong’s success in fighting cancer.  Since then, Team Toi has raised a total of US$200,000 (RM658,000).   “My goal now is to hit US$213,000 (RM700,000),” Toi said.   (from thestart.com.my  Sunday January 6, 2008)

Spring time in the garden

By MICHELE LIAN

Zang Toi’s Spring offerings alternated between flowing and fitted silhouettes that were unmistakeably Oriental, thanks to the intricate chinoiserie designs.

NOTHING embodies the spirit of Zang Toi better than a fashion show disguised as a lavish afternoon tea party.

The Kelantan-born, New York-based fashion designer appears to be the master of all things chic, and the preview of his Spring 2008 collection that he hosted last week was no exception.

In true Zang Toi fashion, his West 57th Street Café at Parkson Pavilion Kuala Lumpur was transformed into a charming spring party setting, bearing strong hints of his penchant for extravagant décor. This time around, journalists, customers, friends and family found themselves in the midst of colourful peonies, and feted with a live string quartet and plenty of bubbly while waiting for the show to begin.

Seated in the front row were Zang’s guests of honour: his mother, dressed in Zang’s signature look for this season – an English yellow qi bao embellished with hand-painted peonies – and his father sporting a matching shirt.

As music from the quartet faded, models came gliding out serenely, stepping in tune to lilting, traditional Chinese music.

On their faces were soft pastel pinks, greens, yellows and neutrals that gave them a subtle, translucent glow to the skin, and upper lids that were heavily lined. In contrast to the minimalist makeup, each had their hair piled up with ornate hairpieces and turned into gravity-defying buns, reminiscent of those worn by 19th century French courtesans, and dotted with ornamental butterflies.

Nevertheless, it was the clothes that transformed them into otherworldly, ethereal beings.

Themed Chinoiserie Garden, Zang’s Spring offerings alternated between flowing and fitted silhouettes that were unmistakeably Oriental, thanks to the intricate designs by de Gournay (a company that specialises in 18th century chinoiserie and 19th century French designs), with touches of European decadence.

First on the runway was a sinewy, English yellow strapless gown with hand painted peonies, followed by a kimono coat and matching trousers with similar motifs and colour.

This graduated to skirts, jackets, short, trousers, dresses and more gowns in pastel shades of ebony, ivory, cream, pink and red. These were accented by touches of mink cashmere, satin bows, ribbon darts, floral prints, pleats and silver beaded lovebird motifs.

The delicately crafted lovebirds on an understated, black shantung silk sheath was not only a stunning reminder of Zang’s immaculate craftsmanship, but also a mirror of the palette dominating the interior his new apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East side. Decorated as a tribute to French Queen Marie Antoinette, Zang’s living space is now a minimalist combination of high gloss white walls, glossy back enamel parquet floors, and neoclassical furniture upholstered in charcoal mink-trimmed cashmere.

Zang Toi with his dad, Toi Han Eng, and his mum, Foo Chin Chik, who celebrated her 80th birthday at his Spring 2008 fashion preview.
This new design credo of his was translated to simplicity on the runway for the most part, but it was obvious that Zang had saved the most elaborate pieces for last.

Out came a statuesque red silk organza and silk taffeta strapless ball gown with peonies and pleated petticoats; sensuous pink organza bustier slip coupled with a silk taffeta diva skirt with a back panel and fox mini shrug; a pink silk taffeta coat with mink border and pleated petticoats over a matching gown; and English yellow silk taffeta evening shirt with a grand ball skirt and pleated back.

But as the preview drew to a close and Zang took his bow, he gave his guests another reason to celebrate: it was also his mother’s 80th birthday. While flitting about the crowd to attend to his guests and beaming parents, it became clear that Zang was in his element – celebrating, and being inspired by, life.

from thestar.com.my, Sunday November 18, 2007