Celebrating 30 years since the founding of his couture label, Datuk Zang Toi paid tribute to his home country with designs that utilised traditional textiles such as batik, sarong and songket.
His collection was aptly named Home Sweet Home, and featured cool and chic outfits. He however, infused the different modern creations with elements of nostalgia drawn from his past.
“I reached out to HRH Tengku Anis of Kelantan. She graciously arranged for the visit to the palace and private tour of museums and cultural centres for the inspiration of my collection,” explains Toi, when contacted via email.
“It was a beautiful design journey knowing that I paid tribute to our beautiful country, and happy that it was well received by critics and clients alike,” the 58-year-old couturier adds.
Kelantan-born Toi is known the world over for his elegant designs. His atelier, House Of Toi, is located near Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and produces high-end clothes for fine specialty stores in the United States.
He first landed in New York City at the age of 20 where he studied at the distinguished Parsons School of Design. A year after founding his atelier, he was featured in US Vogue.
Among his rich-and-famous clientele in the past are Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates; actresses Kirstie Alley and Eva Longoria; pop-star Fergie of Black Eyed Peas; and Saudi princesses.
According to Toi, his only hope is that he has managed to do justice to the traditional Malaysian textiles used. He also reveals that his anniversary collection (presented in New York recently) was three years in the planning.
“My personal favorites are the graphic black and white batik silk gazar cloud and sarong crepe print looks, as well as the couture silk evening looks with hand-beaded Royal Songket.”
Toi notes that it is always important to strike a balance between a fashion-forward idea with classic wearability – or as he so succinctly puts it, “Successful designs are meant to be worn by real people!”