Charismatic designer Zang Toi, who is rarely seen without a smile on his face, is famous for his beautiful, hand-sewn confections with details like thousands of Swarovski crystals dotting the edge of a cashmere wrap. He’s also known for his endearingly offbeat personal style, regularly seen sporting tiny diamond hair clips and Scottish kilts. He has a soft spot for our town, coming through often, and appreciates our affinity for fine fashion. When he was showing his Spring 2013 line at Nordstrom (you can still preview and order it there), we asked for his top tips on dressing to the nines and the key to get heads turning on the social scene.
“For Floridians, I’m the biggest fan of white. For evening, for daytime. And winter white is the most luxurious way to wear it.”
But don’t overlook the power of color.
“This season especially is all about lilac and ice. Ice lilac, ice pink, ice yellow—essentially pastels, but ‘ice’ is a sexier way of saying it—and a lot of my clothes actually have an added layer of ice with sequins and crystals.”
Take advantage of your surroundings.
“Add a fresh flower to your hair. That natural element will make your look pop. And go big. Have one giant bloom or a bunch of smaller ones.”
Pay attention to details.
“Beautiful beading on an otherwise plain shirt or a fur trim on a monochromatic sweater gives off an extra element.”
Do not be shy.
“If you have a great body, wear as short of a skirt as you can! And if you’re sensitive about something, avoid totally masking it. For example, find a dress or shirt that’s sleeveless but has a drape near the arms to show a hint of skin but also give coverage.”
Be aware of comfort.
“It’s in the balance. You want to look and feel good. If you’re going to an outdoor gala and there’s a breeze, rather than wearing a shawl, put on a wrap with sleeves. I’ve been making them consistently since the ’90s because they are so great. They won’t slide off, and you can throw the longer sides across your chest if you’re cold. And try wearing it backwards! It gives a completely different look, one that’s elegant but will be sure to make people do a double take.”