Zang Toi’s “Ballet Babe”
Inspired by the world of ballet and his long-time friend and muse, ballet dancer Cory Stearns, master couturier Zang Toi developed his theme for spring 2014 as classical ballet with a modern twist. Always balancing creativity and business, Toi wowed us again by showing his gorgeous, yet very wearable, new designs on September 10th, the sixth night of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City.
As the lights dimmed and classical music began to echo, the American Ballet Theater (ABT) principal dancer, a half-naked Stearns commenced the show with an unforgettable beautiful ballet, floating and spinning down the catwalk. Stearns also had two modeling looks in the show, including an open jacket tuxedo that was the evening’s final look.
The exquisite “Ballet Babe” collection ranged from delicate cashmere pantsuits to red-carpet gowns in pale blues and inky blacks. Short skirts with knee-high looks and full-skirted gowns seemed to float on their own, with delicate ruffles and trains trailing in the back. We clearly felt that romantic ballet influence. There were even a few ballet slipper-pink shades directly woven into the collection. Many models paused at the end of the runway to spin and pose as if they were ballet dancers, taking the moment to spread their arms wide, illustrating movement of the pieces and special linings of coats.
Toi, the Malaysian-born, American-educated, and internationally renowned designer best known for his masterful creations for affluent socialites and celebrities and his larger than life personality, told the media one week before his show, “The ballet-inspired collection has been done by many designers. Not many people have done ballet right. They go straight to the tutu, the corsets, Swan Lake. I don’t want to do a costume-y ballet collection. If I’m going to do a ballet collection, I have to put my own stamp on it.” Guided by Cory Sterns, Toi did plenty of research on ballet and even attended ABT’s rehearsals, where he found the gracefulness of a ballet dancer, as well as their strength while training.
“I wanted to take the very elegant line, and very graceful line of ballet to translate into the collection.” Toi explained, “I also wanted to take the real life. All these ballerinas, they work so hard. They have spines of steel. They might look fragile from the outside exterior, but they are so strong and so disciplined and they do it for love.”
Asian Fusion magazine was amazed by gown after gown that Toi sent down the runway, each executed with precision and beauty. We especially felt these looks inspired us at the show – shift dresses, high collars, accentuated capes, damask prints, pairing of different blue colors, delicate ruffles, smart and functional wide-legged trousers and outerwear, dark colors such as black nail polish for the Spring looks, which reminded us The Black Swan…