The Elder Statesman
February 13, 2014 New York
Chait made a conscious decision to skip bottoms for Fall, focusing on sweaters and the techniques he's worked so hard to develop. "We've done ten years of research in a much shorter amount of time," he said of the different stitches and handwork he and his team have attempted to perfect. The 2012 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner made a point of working in primarily black, white, and gray, and kept each piece—men's, women's, or unisex—as light as can be. "I don't like things that are heavy for the sake of being heavy," he said of the nubby rice-stitch V-neck, the variant-ribbed crewneck, and the petal-stitch cardigan that he says he'll be wearing every day. The 70 percent wool, 30 percent cashmere series was so unbelievably soft that Chait was keeping the process of how he achieved that texture a secret. Even softer was a cream hand-knit cashmere sweater in a popcorn stitch; it had that chunky look that's so in demand right now. Chait also made an effort to put pockets into nearly all the sweaters; he wanted to fill that natural urge to bury one's hands.
There was novelty, too, in the form of intarsia knits, some black and white, others hand-painted in sunset colors. Chait even created a jokey "Elder Statesman Beer" logo to decorate a few of the pieces. (Some are a little more direct, with just the word "Beer" knitted on the front.) A logo'd "coach jacket" for guys was lined in silk cashmere. It was just like the one your dad wore to go bowling, save for the fancy fabrics. For the ladies, there was a seamless navy intarsia bodysuit, as well as a long ribbed dress engineered to cling to the body just so.
Chait and his team move into a 10,000-square-foot facility in Los Angeles this week. The designer's big goal: to make clothes that feel one-of-a-kind (or, actually, just are that). It'll be interesting to see where he pushes knitwear next.