RICHARD CHAI LOVE AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR NEW YORK
It was no accident that, at Richard Chai’s show today, the standout items were coats. So many coats! Cashmere chesterfields and peacoats with broad lapels, trimmed in leather. A sharp black shearling with a fur-lined hood. Duvet parkas for men and women. An iridescent bomber. The list goes on. Protection was the key theme for Chai this season, so the focus on outerwear made solid sense. So, too, did Chai’s concept for his men’s collection, which was to layer his sporty coats over tailored looks, the most high-impact of which erred long and lean and featured a subdued graphic touch, courtesy of vertical black and navy stripes or a blurred Prince of Wales check. The womenswear, meanwhile, was a bit more of a hodgepodge; it was hard to identify a defining silhouette, but it was easy to extract some winning pieces from the jumble. Chai nailed his ribbed knits, for instance, and the cropped trousers looked very sharp indeed. But the diaphanous silk dresses he layered into his looks came off as a distraction; ditto the pieces in mesh. You got the sense that Chai was trying to effect an eccentric proportion, but the proposition just wasn’t convincing. That said, the silks, at least, may fare better solo, on the showroom racks. Really, though, the story here was the coats: Girls and guys will find plenty to choose from, and will have a difficult time making up their minds as to which they like best.