It’s hard to believe that the House of Toi, the label started by vivacious New York-based designer Zang Toi, celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, since Toi appears a decade younger than his birth date indicates. The designer’s lengthy list of accomplishments and awards are nothing short of impressive. Having dressed celebrties and socialities including Selma Blair, Sharon Stone, Ivana Trump, Meg Ryan, Devon Aoki, Farrah Fawcett, and Kelly Preston, Toi most recently appeared on an episode of Bravo’s hit show The Real Housewives of New York City, where he dressed one of the leads, Jill Zarin.
When asked about how his experience on the reality program came about, Toi told us that he was “approached by Jill Zarin who is both a fan and a client,” adding that it was “great fun,” and that Zarin “is a sweet and thoughtful client.” Given the intricacy of the designer’s handmade work, however, there’s no question that in order to surive you need a stable of loyal customers which is why being on a show like the Real Housewives didn’t necessarily boost sales. Luckily, Toi told us – “most of my ladies have been very loyal clients for years and years.”
Born and raised in Kuala Krai, a small village in Kelantan, the designer got his start in fashion at the age of 20 when he began his studies at the Parsons School of Design. In a bold move, only a few years after graduating, Toi opened his own atelier.
When asked to describe his aesthetic, the designer exclaimed, “I would describe my design as timeless chic with a touch of glamour! My clients are stylish ladies that do not follow fashion trends blindly.” That said, he has no design muses, as he loves all types of “chic and stylish ladies”.
There’s no denying that, for the most part, one has to love color to be able to pull of a House of Toi creation. More into black? Toi suggests that you “get out of that tiny box, and start exploring.”
We couldn’t think of better advice for Summer.