Zang Toi S15 (1)A 10-minute standing ovation and a surprise anniversary cake from the photographer’s pit marked a touching finale at the Zang Toi 25th Anniversary runway show held on Tuesday, Sep 9, 2014 at the Lincoln Center during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Unveiling a total of 39 looks for his Spring 2015 collection, Zang Toi surprised his audience by dividing the show into two segments.

Opening with a black crocodile “All American” oversize motorcycle vest worn over a black & white tunic, the designer introduced a new Zang Toi – bold, youthful and rebellious with a lot of attitude. Experimenting with logos, Zang created a new “Lucky 13” insignia which refers to his first ever collection that was composed of only 13 pieces.

At 25, the Zang Toi label has been defined by its affinity to luxe and glamour. And from the start, with the original “Lucky 13” collection launched in 1989, the label caught the attention of the well-heeled ladies of New York’s Upper East side.

Through the years and by word of mouth (Zang Toi never advertises), this made-to-measure line found its way into the wardrobes of socialites in the Eastern seaboard, in the Midwest, Texas and the Southwest and up and down the Pacific Coast.

Never brash or crass, the quiet elegance exuded by Zang Toi gowns and dresses are timeless and classic, never going out of style.

Hence, this bold and rebellious look is new and unexpected, a surprise to everyone. And guess what, the audience loved it! Applause rang when the model reached the middle of the catwalk. There were even some feet stomping to the beat of the background music, Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America.”

And there it was, the fashion moment when all elements were right; the precious seconds when everyone came together and understood the message – the new Zang Toi is the old Zang Toi.

It’s a paradox of fashion. As the designer reinvents himself for his 25th anniversary giving a fresh take in his signature silhouettes, it’s also the archetypal Zang Toi in its attention to details, luxe fabrics and handmade embroidery.

By the time the model made her turn, the moment has passed but the message had been received. Ivana Trump who was sitting front row and a long time supporter and client was one of the first to give a nod to this new Zang Toi as evidenced by her enthusiastic applause. And she was not alone! The audience which was made up of half clients and half journalists agreed.

Not surprisingly, the new Zang Toi looks are just half the collection. Always to anticipate the needs and wants of his audience and his clientele, the designer also sent out 19 looks that were definitive Zang Toi.

Beginning with the moonlit silk organza orchid “American Princess” ball gown all the way to the grand finale – “Portrait of a Palm Beach Grand Dame”, all of them bear the marks of the famed Zang Toi DNA – luxurious, glamorous, elegant, which is the other half of the message of this 25th Anniversary Collection.

Photos by Edward Colelli

Zang Toi S15 (47)