Richard Chai, the man, and Richard Chai, the label, both embody the kind of urban cool-ness synonymous with New York's downtown scene. So it was a little surprising to see LA types like Ashlee Simpson and Maggie Grace wedged in between Christina Ricci (Chai's friend) and perennial cool girl Leigh Lezark in the front row at his Fall 2013 show.
Surprising though the front row was, Chai's newest collection was a solid, if somber, step for his eponymous LOVE label, which is usually full of frothy frocks and colorful prints. The show opened with an olive and grey jacket and skirt combo which set the tone for the military-inspired collection.
The tailoring, which was impeccable, made up for the somewhat drab color palette. And I've yet to see another designer make the peplum look as cool, and totally unfussy as Chai did.
Later on in the show, Chai did give us a little taste of his signature prints in the form of an abstract dark green and pink pattern, and a muted lavender brocade, which livened up the suit separates. The designer ended on a feminine note with silk frocks and skirts in deep purple.
On the men's side, Mr. Chai provided his rigamarole of crinkled and ribbed neoprene and cotton sweatsshirts, coats and trousers, their soft textures bouncing from military-man-on-the-street to moonman-on-a-mission.