THE ELDER STATESMAN AW15’16 READY-TO-WEAR NEW YORK FASHION WEEK
The Elder Statesman’s Greg Chait typically starts with yarn, working with the company’s team of skilled knitters to continue developing techniques until he gets the texture just right. But eight years in, he has quite the repertoire, and it’s time to start building out other parts of the Los Angeles brand’s story.
So for Fall, the designer did something unprecedented. Before he even considered the stitches, or the weight of the knits, or the silhouettes, he thought about color. “I took a stand,” Chait said, holding up his blue-and-red “Rockin’ Moroccan” sweater, a lightweight jersey stitch with lots of dimension thanks to the stripes of textured, handspun yarn. Those reds and blues were played up throughout the collection, from the woven cashmere jacket decorated with a striped circle on the back to the Baja shape that has become a perennial. Chait is superflexible with his retailers when it comes to color options—a zigzag intarsia sweater, for instance, can be hand-painted to a store’s liking—and he doesn’t plan on dialing back on that service. But there were plenty of ready-made options this time, too, which seemed to make him proud.
The designer is also very proud of the fit of the clothes. He promised that a long silk-cashmere turtleneck dress is universally flattering, and he worked hard to make the waistband of a circle skirt sturdy enough not to stretch out in the way most tend to. “It really holds up,” he said. While wovens and other materials aren’t entirely new to the collection, his striped denim looked great this season, as did the leather bomber with a cashmere collar.
All in all, there was just more good stuff for the picking. A banded-waist turtleneck sweater stood out, as did the season’s novelty T-shirt, which said “Ibiza” in fuzzy letters. (There were others for Trancoso and Mykonos, too, and Chait said stores are welcome to get this one emblazoned with any blur-worthy city they’d like.) The cashmere blankets were as compelling as ever, especially the zigzag version made with 32 different yarn colors. There’s a lot of potential for Chait in home goods.
The brand opened its first store in West Hollywood this past fall, and it’s a good indication that slowly but surely, this knitwear line could turn into a lifestyle concept. “I’m feeling really happy about how things are going,” Chait said. And he should be.