Zang Toi Spring/Summer 2014

As the lights dim, swift ballet dancer Cory Stearns floats down the runway to dramatic music, jumping, plié-ing, and completely capturing the audience’s attention. The dancer quickly disappears from sight, and the first model, dressed in a black and navy gown, makes her way down the runway amidst enthusiastic applause. Operatic music plays as the next model comes out in a simple black trench and knee-highs. Designer Zang Toi surely knows how to bring drama to the runway.

This theatricality was somewhat present in the clothes as well. Inspired by the ballet for his Spring 2014 collection, Toi played with dark shades of navy and black and pastel blues and pinks. Capes, long gowns, and billowing trains seemed to reoccur throughout the show, and the models demonstrated the movement in the garments through their dramatic poses. The last several looks were elegant gowns with beautiful details such as floral appliqué and tulle lining. Keeping the makeup minimal and hair in a simple chignon, Toi let the colors pop, especially in an ensemble composed of a bubble-gum pink coat and dress.

While the theme made for an entertaining runway show, many of the silhouettes seemed tired and derivative. The first half of the show was underwhelming, with simple trench jackets, plain suit sets, and other business attire. The second half of the show was in stark contrast, with embellished gown after gown. The low draped back and ballerina silhouette, which Toi has used often in past collections, seemed far too conventional. Though the details were pretty and the garments were well constructed, the show as a whole was not much of a departure from Toi’s previous collections.

Deeksha Mehta is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]