Who's Richard Chai?

The first time I heard of Richard Chai was through an entry by The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman (there is an earlier post, but you have to scroll down to the bottom of this archive page). Apparently, he started at the same time as fellow Asian designers Peter Som and Derek Lam.

Then the menswear pieces of Richard Chai started appearing on men.style.com for Spring 2009. The horizontal panels (top left) on his coats, jackets, and shirts intrigued me, especially when he repeated the theme for his Fall 2009 collection, but this time, in marvelous indigo (blue violet?).

Richard Chai draws inspiration for his Fall collection from the photographs of August Sander

Interestingly, for these two gray coats from two different seasons, he just moves the panel down by one button. (Of course, I can't see up close any changes in construction.)

The bisecting motif becomes a two-tone color design for summer shirts and the combination of two very different fabrics (unless the lower part is just very meticulous trompe-l'oeil) for fall pickings.

I was surprised to see drawstring pants styled with tucked-in shirts, since I have also been doing this before. Even more interesting is the jacket on the right, where the horizontal panel was raised to the topmost button - right under the lapel - giving the illusion of a bolero.

This Chesterfield collar is also repeated, but with a longer cut for fall. The cropped spring version is really quite terrific, with the combination of drawstring pants and sneakers.

Spring's blue jacket transforms into fall's indigo peacoat, which can be zipped up.

For fall, purple is also a dominant color, as are cropped jackets paired with long knits.

There is also cerulean (teal?).

And other shades between green, gray, and blue.

Persian red (Pantone, help!) is also used as a bold color.

Of course, fall won't be fall without the cold, neutral tones.

Richard Chai looks promising. Let's see next season if he keeps up the excitement and retains any of his themes.