June 25, 2008
As the sunlight of a Parisian summer night was fading, a street corner in the 3rd arrondissement turned into a block party. Locals and fashion types descended, drinks were served, music was played, and nothing on wheels could enter. This raucous setting was the stage for Richard Chai's second menswear collection, which was of the same mind-set as the surroundings. He called it "good boy goes bad," his crystallizing moment being a re-watching of The Outsiders, in particular the battle scene between the Soces and the Greasers (what, you thought he'd pick a tender moment between Ponyboy and Darry?). In other words, a melding of punk and preppyand a subversion of the uniformity both looks have acquired. Acid-pink seersucker suiting, cut horizontally and tailored into a peacoat (or washed out for an M-65 jacket), exemplified Chai's butching-up of prep, while a motorcycle jacket in cobalt washed silk showed a dandy (maybe even a bit femme?) notion of punk. Glen plaids and morning-star fabrics were first bleached, distressed, and then ink-washed, giving topcoats and trousers a mottled effect. These were then layered over eye-popping electric-plaid shirts for contrast. Gone bad, sure, but good, too.