24HOURS ZANG TOI
The designer’s life in numbers. By Cai Mei Khoo.
5AM If I’m travelling for trunk shows I have to leave for the airport by now, as my assistant likes to book me on early-morning flights. Otherwise if I’m in New York, I wake up just past nine. 9AM The first thing I do is check my e-mails. My inbox is usually flooded overnight. Not really a big breakfast person, I like to have a big cup of freshly made black coffee by the window and some fresh fruits or seven-grain toast with French butter and jam. My apartment is filled with Louis XVI furniture and a François Linke bed – I collect French antiques, also paintings from my good friend and a very talented painter, Natasha Zupan. I even commissioned her to paint a pair of life-sized Marie Antoinettes in my living room. 9.30AM My current favourite skincare brand is vBeauté. Its products are amazing! Julie Macklowe, who is a good friend and founder of vBeauté, introduced it to me. Organic and fragrance-free, I especially love the Eye Never anti-ageing eye cream and Lite Up skin-lightening serum. In the summer, I use the Day Job anti-ageing sun cream, which has SPF 30. I’ve since recommended vBeauté to my family and my ladies, and they all love it. Clothes-wise, I subscribe to a uniform. In the summer, I wear white exclusively and in the winter, it’s black with a touch of charcoal grey – either a plain signature cotton velvet mini kilt, or a kilt with House of Toi crest embroidery, with cashmere tights, bamboo T-shirt, and a cashmere cardigan. For black-tie events, I wear my Loro Piana cashmere or black velvet dinner suit with Charvet’s tuxedo shirt and tie, fresh white Phalaenopsis boutonnière, and custom JM Weston wingtips. And when I feel uber luxurious, I put on my broadtail coat with hand-beaded “T” crest lining and Hermès alligator gloves. 10.30AM Typically it takes me an hour or so to get ready in the mornings. The last thing I put on before I head out the door are my Cartier ankle bracelet (my good luck charm) and white Tahitian South Sea pearl cufflinks. I walk from my apartment on 75th Street along Madison Avenue to my atelier on 48th Street. Usually I have my face buried in my BlackBerry, returning e-mails and calling the office as I go. 11AM I have a cup of soy latte at the office before diving straight into work. I go over a list of to-dos and notes I sent out the previous night with my assistants, whom I call the HOT (House of Toi) Angels. Regular days see us looking at fabric swatches for the upcoming collections, meeting with representatives from mills, visiting fabric showrooms, doing fittings with clients or working with my office and production manager. I travel eight out of 12 months in a year, so my appointments are scheduled back-to-back whenever I am in New York, and my time is entirely dedicated to my
devoted team. My next travel destination is Venice, one of my favourite cities in the world.
Zang Toi at home