runway New York

Zang Toi Fall/Winter 2016

From the dazzling, snow-blinding whites of his last collection, the illustrious Zang Toi takes us on a trip through the dark side with his Fall/Winter 2016-17 collection… but only as a side trip through what could be, since we eventually wind up basking in glorious hot colors and textures that keep us warm on chilly nights. Moved by the horror of last fall’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Toi’s "Courchevel Chic" collection is dedicated to the City of Lights, and the strength of the French people.

Fade to black. All black. Black leather, black pyramid studs, black ribbed knits, black fur, black alpaca, black cashmere, black wool, black cotton. Black coats, black sweaters, black dresses, black vests, black leggings, black pants. Though decidedly not Goth, the opening was far more Addams Family than Partridge Family (thank you, Gail Chovan). Stark, intimidating and luxurious, Zang pushes the boundaries in shaping and styling. Black stocking caps worn with the all-black ensembles made the models in this grouping look like the most stylish cat-burglars on the Côte d’Azure.

“It’s a lot more understated this season,” Toi said backstage before the show. “It’s the first time in 25 years I’ve shown a flat [shoe].” WWD suggests that toning down his theatrics would win him more fans. Yes, WWD, it might indeed do that, but without the theatrics we'd be

losing an integral part of Zang. Layering tunics and mini-dresses over skirts, leggings and pants, culminating in an architecturally--sculptured amphora-shaped trench, followed by a black crocodile pencil skirt. To die for. As the black bled into purple and red, the edginess transformed into sophisticated pant suits and separates, and out of the darkness came beauty. Slim, tailored skirts and shaped jackets gave way to luxurious sweater sets and sleeveless cocktail dresses. And once cocktail hour was over, evening set in.

A red capped-sleeved evening gown in metallic ottoman topped with a massive red ostrich shrug set the pace and the shapes for the finale. A floor-length red chemise paired with a matching floor-length A-line coat did not ask for approval - it demanded respect in a haughty but accessible manner.

A strapless black column worn with an enormous black fox stole screamed Hollywood glamour and is sure to be a Red Carpet favorite. A black strapless mat lasse sheath slit up to here in front accessorized with a beaded necklace that looped harness-like over the shoulders drew gasps of pleasure, but the pièce de résistance was a black strapless mini-sheath worn with swags of black pearls, sheer black stockings with black-on-black floral detailing - the cheekiness of the ensemble was anointed with an elegantly structured floor-length A-line black satin cloak. Pure ecstasy. Pure glamour. Pure Zang. Vive la France.

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