Just before everyone took their seats at Lincoln Center this morning, I mentioned to no one in particular that I wish Richard Chai did more in my favorite color, black. Much to my surprise, I got my wish starting with the very first look. Richard Chai is taking this winter thing quite seriously, perhaps of necessity after the rough winters New York has had the past couple of years. Not only is there a darker palette to his collection this season, everything he sent down the runway was a complete cover from chin to toe. I can only imagine the poor models were sweltering under all that weight, but it certainly would feel good out on the street.
This may be the most practical collection yet from Chai. While there’s still a touch of a grunge look, if one is bound and determined to find one, most of what we saw was very mainstream. There are plenty of knits, scarves, and sweaters with oversized sleeves. Skirts were well past the knee and came with leggings under them. Coats were thick and bulky with plenty of ties to shut off any chance of a draft.
Chai definitely increases his age appeal with this collection. While previous seasons have had an age limit of about 30 to them, there were actually several pieces here that an old fart like I could wear. The men’s suits are especially well tailored, my favorite being the double breasted variety. Gentle color blocking and patterns that don’t try to put out an eye are also very appealing. The only “young” aspect here is the chunky black platform shoes. I know I’ll be passing on those, thank you very much, and suspect that a lot of people outside New York will do the same.
Richard Chai is definitely coming into his own with this collection. There’s a subtle shift toward maturity that should do well on the shelves next fall. This is one of those collections that is wearable enough that a young adult might have to guard their closet to prevent their parent raiding it. Easily the strongest collection from Chai yet. Put this on your shopping list now!
Photo credit: Gio Staiano/NowFashion