It was a full house for Richard Chai’s Spring 2012 show and New York Knicks player Amare Stoudemire was seated front row. I’m not one to pay even the slightest attention to competitive sports, but when Stoudemire popped up at an event hosted by Robert Verdi I did make note that the pro athlete was exceedingly well dressed so it turned out to be little surprise that he fit right in at Chai.
Chai, a 2008 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist and 2010 Swarovski Award winner for emerging menswear at the CFDA awards, showed both men’s and women’s looks with plenty of popping hues and even more prints. From the looks of things thus far many of the trends currently en vogue won’t be going anywhere. Shoulder and waist-level cut-outs were featured prominently as were clashing prints on prints and the closing number prominently used sheer fabric.To go with the boldness of many of the looks, every so often one of the models (this season’s line-up included A-listers Liu Wen, Daga Ziober, and Nyasha Matonhodze), would walk out with lips layered with vibrant lipsticks (think blue) and popping shadow (think orange). That said, in between the bright prints – which included a recurring linear yellow and black print and a washy pink and blue print that was used for both men and women's looks – there were a slew of easier to pull off everyday staples. Basics like beige trenches and pants for men and little black and little white dresses for women made for staples that most people would love to have in their closets. In the same vein, when the bold prints were kept to one piece, as in a maxi dress or a top, they worked perfectly and given that they would need to be minimally accessorized, they would be easy to wear straight from the runway and into real life.
Prints aside, the stand out women's looks included maxi skirts with oversized pockets, a touch rarely seen, and for men, pants that were cuffed just over the ankle with contrasting inner lining peaking out. Both are breezy, sexy-casual looks that are easy to look at longingly given the looming cold weather.
The one flop? Oddball skirt and pant combinations, some of which were half skirts (meaning they looked like a skirt from the front, but had nothing in the back), making them look like waiter’s aprons.