NYFW: RICHARD CHAI S/S2014

Not every collection is a winner. Not every designer plays well in the Midwest. Not every style is going to go over all that well. So it is with Richard Chai‘s spring/summer 2014 collection. There are some nice things here, but there are also some dreadful pieces that we really hope don’t hit store shelves.

Let’s start with the good, though. Chai has a thing for stripes this season, most notably bright red stripes in various sizes. The look is exciting, bold, and even a little more mature that what one might historically expect from the young New York-born designer. Strongest are the billowing pants under flowing dresses. The look, especially in red and white, is perfect for spring and is bound to be a head-turner.

Also a look that is destined to be a hit is the white leather moto jacket. Twitter exploded with chatter as soon as the first one hit the runway and to everyone’s delight there were multiple variations throughout the show, with zippers all askew and lengths changing to match the pants beneath.

There were also some delightful periwinkle-colored pieces, and rather surprising were a handful of teal outfits that had digital geometric prints in front and plaid in back! Doesn’t sound like it would work, but the effect was surprisingly positive.

What didn’t work were some of the menswear pieces. Among the worst offenders were burnt orange sports coats and short, as well as black crew socks with white deck shoes. Can we give this a collective eww? I seriously hope these don’t hit stores because if the leisure suit taught us anything it is that men will buy whatever stores put out there, no matter how ridiculous it is.

Perhaps it was appropriate that the Jonas Brother and Christina Ricci were sitting front row for this show. There were many elements that would work better on stage or in Hollywood than they ever would in Indiana or Missouri. The line will likely be available at Saks Fifth Avenue next spring, but please, shop carefully.

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