The broad-shouldered power babe has been stomping around a lot of runways this week, but Richard Chai has been honing his tough-luxe vision of this Mighty Aphrodite for a year now. Safe? No. Smart? Yes. "You can't be safe," he said a few days before the show. "It's not about dumbing things down."
For Fall he built on the strongest elements of his past two collections while still pushing forward. From last Fall, he carried over the idea of the slouchy-slim pleated pant worn with artful, cozy layers. For the first time, he added fur to the mix in doses both small (the fox trim on the collar of a silk parka) and large (a lovely long vest of silver fox that punched up a moody-broody navy jacket and mohair sweater). He took his slim-legged silhouette one step slouchier, diving into the wide-leg trouser that's surely just around everyone's fashion corner.
From Spring, he kept that vibrant "streaming plaid" print, seen to full effect in a madly matchy-matchy look of a printed skinny suit coordinated from shirt to wedge shoe. Of course, a breezy silk dress in a romantic ankle length is more likely how this plaid will translate to the retail rack; dresses continue to be an integral part of Chai's business. The other prints, abstracted images of confetti and fireworks, were meant as celebratory sartorial talismans against the prevailing gloom and doom. On little draped and tucked dresses they looked great—reason enough, we think, to break out the bubbly.