NEW YORK, Sep 17, 2010 / FW/ — Perhaps it’s because Zang Toi has been invited by Neiman Marcus to hold a trunk show at its North Park Center location in Dallas. It might even be that a new TV series premiering this fall, “Lone Star” focuses on life in Texas.

No matter what the reason was, Texas was on designer Zang Toi’s mind for sometime now and he chose a fitting muse for his Spring 2011 collection, a young Elizabeth Taylor portraying socialite/ oil matriarch “Leslie Benedict” in “Giant”, a 1956 movie about how the oil industry transformed the Texas ranchers into the super rich of their generation.

Opening the show with a “cowboy” stripped to his waist and wearing suede pants with fringe, the audience, which was pleasantly surprised, immediately reacted with whistles and a round of applause.

Without missing a beat, a model in a black floor length riding coat that can double as a trench coat came out, and thus establishing the tone of the collection – this is about urban cowboys and cowgirls without the cliché attributes that we associate with the term.

Sending tailored shirts in white and blue paired with fringed miniskirts and trousers made to look like chaps, Zang Toi’s vision of the urban cowboy and cowgirl is mindful of the Texas heritage.

Even the jeans were sartorial! A first on Zang Toi’s runway is the denim jeans, another proof of the designer’s quest for authenticity of his vision. The ten gallon hat was the accessories de rigueur and the Texas Longhorn made its appearance via a brooch made of Swarovski crystals.

Another surprise from Zang Toi is his return to color exuberance. A colorist by nature, the Malaysian-born designer had tempered his enthusiastic use of colors for the past several seasons by sticking to black and white with a few splashes of the season’s colors.

For Spring 2011, Zang Toi created a new original print which he called “The Yellow Rose of Texas” as it featured roses in different shades of yellow interspersed with different washes of pink.

With black, white, blue and coral pink making up the rest of the color palette, this collection proves once more Zang Toi’s mastery of the color wheel.

Photos by Edward Colelli

New York Fashion Week Spring 2011