Zang Toi: crowd pleaser

The sun had long set on the city before we found ourselves at the last catwalk of the evening, Malaysian designer Zang Toi’s autumn / fall 2011 showing. Generally speaking, the last New York fashion week show of any night that doesn’t have an after party attached to it pulls only a small crowd. But here at the Lincoln Centre as the tent’s roof rippled in response to the rising wind and photographers, tired after a 13 hour day, verbally took out their frustrations on one another, Zang Toi did the complete opposite. He pulled a crowd. An eager crowd. A crowd that left most people in the standing space unable to see a thing, so tightly packed in were they. But, more importantly, a crowd that loved his work and showed it by applauding piece after piece, time and time again.

That applause gave Zang Toi‘s showing something of a point of difference. People generally don’t clap this exuberantly at fashion parades, less so at those attached to fashion weeks where even the final applause, held when the designer emerges, often feels laboured as if to clap is to be un-chic. Toi received applause to a level that I’ve only seen at the filming of Project Runway finales – and even then the producer is insisting that you applause.

No one was insisting in this Lincoln Centre tent as both men’s and women’s pieces took to the catwalk in looks that started out being almost simplistic, where cut served as detail, before transitioning to pieces far more suited to occasions. As if to make sure that point wasn’t missed the show closed with someone, not a model but a celebrity whose name I know not, closing the show in a gown that is certain to make a red carpet somewhere. And she closed this Zang Toi showing to a standing ovation. One that drowned out the sound of all else.

You can see all of Zang Toi’s autumn (fall) / winter 2011 / 2012 collection by clicking on the thumbnails below.