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Zang Toi

series: Artist Toolbox

air date: 2/15/13 1:00 PM

"I wanted to follow my own lead," Fashion Designer Zang Toi, called 'the patriarch of modern fashion before it was present' tells The Artist Toolbox host John Jacobsen. Toi, who was raised in a small grocery store in Malaysia, now occupies an incredibly chic Manhattan studio, his desk almost invisible behind piles of books and rows of mannequins draped in his gorgeous work, where John and Toi discuss the bravery and courage required of the young artist. With just a modest collection of bright sarongs, strong suits and regal dresses--and an irresistible charm-young Toi opened his own atelier in New York and instantly made a name for himself among fashion's elite. Since these ambitious beginnings, he has become the favorite designer of style arbiters such as Madonna, Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle, Ivana Trump and Sharon Stone. Toi, who was presented with the Knighthood by the Sultan of Malaysia in 1997, won a bet with Lance Armstrong which culminated in him designing one of his signature mini-kilts for Armstrong to wear on his bike-the perfect illustration of the inspiring blend of determination and sense of humor behind one of the most sought-after fashion designers in the world. "I live a very full life," says Toi from his Manhattan apartment. Experience a slice of it with The Artist Toolbox.

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