There is no designer more admired among the crew in the photographer's pit than Zang Toi. The atmosphere at the front of the runway is more pirates’ crew than genteel fashion elite. Most of the burly guys are just there to do a job. Once in a while, there comes a fashion show like Zang Toi’s fall 2012 collection, which inspires the most jaded of shooters.
Why did he impress? The lighting was favorable, a detail that a surprising number of designers ignore. It didn’t hurt that he ran a rehearsal for the benefit of the photographers to prep their cameras before the rest of the audience was granted access.
The models were seasoned. They were real women who knew how to pose provocatively to accentuate each look. Another detail taken for often granted: models that actually hold the pose long enough for the photographer to take the image.
The designer’s posh gowns filled the width of the runway with yards of satin and pure glamour. Zang Toi truly knows how to make his clientele, his staff (and we lowly photographers) feel special. He makes his socialites look gorgeous, and he constantly praises his staff. I briefly worked with him in my early embroidery design days and he was always a class act. In a first for fashion week, he actually thought to provide the photographers with boxed lunches of Malaysian curry buns and fruit before the show.
After taking us to Morocco last season, Mr. Toi took us to Gstaad this season. The color palette was simple, black, cream and red. A bright red, orange and fushia tile print looked rich and modern. The hair and makeup were classic 1940's Hollywood. Gowns were long and fitted with some dramatic flair at the hem. Some were embellished with embroidery, beading or sculpted shoulder details. Day wear included luxurious Loro Piana suits and coats. In the end, the guests stood up for another well earned standing ovation for the designer.
Spotted in the front row: Real Housewife of NY Ramona Singer, America's Next Top Model Eva Marcille
Photos by David TW Leung