The palette on the look sheet read so fresh you could feel it: Powder Blue, Chalk, Lavender, Sun Yellow, White Cotton, Misty Blue, Citrus. Everything sounded so clean and light – if you closed your eyes you could see the intense and softly bright washed-out effect of early afternoon sunlight on the tennis courts. Perhaps this shimmering pastel glow hits us under the fading nostalgia for olympic torchlight and a renewed worldwide reverence for our athletes, held as the most exemplary human specimens, standards of strength and achievement and free from impurities. Venus and Serena showed us that athleticism need not be drab or all function no fashion, that world class athletes are as fast moving and relevant as the outfits that armor them. There were also no echoes of grunge in this collection, with clean looks radiating in the bright palette down to the slicked and cropped hair, a stray from the normally layered and grayer Chai of past seasons.
Dazed Digital: Where did this collection come from?
Richard Chai: I think it's coming off last season that was inspired more by menswear and being androgynous. I just kind of wanted to go the opposite way. There was a collection in between that was Resort and I played a lot with things that were a bit athletic and sporty. I think I just got pushed and evolved to this next level, which is great.
DD: Did you watch a lot of Olympics?
Richard Chai: I did, and I think subconsciously there's probably still a lot of that in me. When you look at athletic pieces of clothing, I think that they're really beautifully made. It's taking those ideas and translating them to a fashion that's refined and youthful and amazing. More and more I tend to be dressing athletes and having them attend my shows, it's sort of this new territory for me so maybe that has something do with it as well.
DD: Where did the palette come from?
Richard Chai: I just wanted things to be light and fresh, that's where my head's been at recently. I started off with a lot of the powder blues and the whites, then the citrusy kind of yellows. Then I always have to end with something that's a bit tough and a bit dark. Those were the dark grays and the embellishments and mixing the weird prints together.
Click here for an exclusive Richard Chai fittings video by CyCy Sanders.