Jade Lai's store Creatures of Comfort has long been a mainstay of downtown New Yorkers looking for a well edited selection of pretty, minimal clothing since its inception, and the store's namesake line, launched in 2010, has furthered the brand's reputation as an arbiter of all things cool and casual.
But at the moment that fashion, high and low, is swinging dramatically to the comfortable (and the "normal"), Lai is continuing to diversify her product offering. At a preview in her studio last week, Lai guided me through racks of thin knit tees and trousers, printed jumpsuits, cleverly structured dresses and sumptuous knits for spring 2015 that, while not too crazy in concept, were delightfully unexpected. She's also launching shoes (specifically, sandals made in Peru) and continuing to expand her handbag offerings, including bright bucket bags and multi-pouch wristlets that adjust to the needs of the wearer.
"When it comes down to it, my idea is to make functional clothes that you also feel are very precious, and that are also something you would want to keep for a long time and pass on to your children," Lai told me while a model swayed by wearing a cobalt midi-skirt and grey wrap sweater. "I make clothes for girls to wear every day and look beautiful in every day doing their thing. I always envision my girl to have direction, they know what they want to do and they're busy doing it."
For her latest offering, Lai looked to the paintings and life of Agnes Martin as a starting point, mixing her strength of personality with a settler aesthetic. "There’s a lot of utilitarian colors, details and pockets in the collection," Lai explained, adding that safari-style hats were made in collaboration with Dani Griffiths of Clyde. While the idea of an elegant, functional wardrobe in pastel-hued neutrals may sound a lot like normcore – or at least Céline-core – Creatures of Comfort doesn't fall for any mainstream gimmicks. Instead, the spring 2015 collection continues to be innovative, insightful and exactly what smart women will want to wear come April. We can guarantee it.