Swiftly becoming known as the young master of layered utilitarian-cool separates, Richard Chai chose to show both his men's and women's LOVE lines simultaneously at the tents this season. And though it's remarkable how seamlessly the two lines meshed on the runway, that's surely a testament to Chai's command of boyish dressing for both genders.
The designer focused on neon-bright colors this time around, with an emphasis on sunny yellows and screaming pinks, and the patterns at play were completely resort-ready. If Chai has his way, Hawaiian shirts--yes, those gaudy souvenir button-ups so beloved by geeky dads and loathed by, well, pretty much everyone else--are going to be a hot commodity come spring 2012. Both girls and boys rocked various iterations of those Honolulu-happy botanical prints, along with snug biker shorts and neon-soled brogues. Though irises seemed to be the floral motif of choice, a slew of "water rose" separates that closed the show seemed softer, more classically pretty--almost reminiscent of traditional toile.
Chai, however, is anything but traditional when it comes to his styling decisions, and it showed in the kilt pants (yes--half trouser, half skirt) and dresses-atop-slacks looks he sent out. With some models sporting up to four loose layers per look--and remember, these are spring/summer offerings--Chai's clothes certainly skew more androgynous-cool than sexy. But they sure hit the right note with the athletic crowd--A'mare Stoudemire and Dwayne Wade were both seated front-row at the show. Here's to la vie sportive!