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Richard Chai S/S12

The New York-based designer manipulates colours and patterns as his main points of interest influenced by K-Pop

After winning the CFDA Award recently for his menswear, the sudden influx of energetic celebration from Richard Chai was apparent in his uncharacteristically playful take on pattern and colour, as well as his 48 model combined men's and women's show. All in electric candy coloured hues, his flopping floral prints meshed perfectly with his signature flowing layers - women with draped, patterned dresses over matching trousers, men popping sherbet florals and mint green or grey collarless button ups over shorts. The outstanding brightness perhaps reflects the highly saturated and effervescent genre of K-Pop, a big inspiration for this season's collection.

Dazed Digital: What are we seeing in this new collection?
Richard Chai:
Lots of colours, lots of prints, lots of patterns - it's really just about this mashup of things to be honest. I think about the past two seasons, especially my womenswear - spring was really light and ethereal and very pure and inspired by modern dance and Martha Graham, and the colours were really neutral. Fall was really somber and dark and was more a study on textures and textiles. Going into this Spring I wanted tons of colour and wanted it to be like eye candy popping in your face.

DD: Where did this palette come from?
Richard Chai: I've been listening to strange music, korean pop music, half the things they say I don't even understand, but it's fun and it's comical and lighthearted. I just wanted to have some fun this season to be honest. I think that's why integrating men's and women's together was really intentional in that way. My Richard Chai LOVE collection was really inspired by my menswear collection. I started seeing a lot of girls in New York wearing the men's clothes and I thought 'that's so strange, are they buying the men's clothes or are they wearing their boyfriends' clothes.' That's how I got the idea to start this women's contemporary line, it's always spawned from the men's collection. I've never showed them together though, this is the first time.

DD: In showing the men's and women's together, were you designing more androgynously?
Richard Chai: Not necessarily, I think there's always a bit of masculinity in the women's collection and on the flip-side of it I think there are moments when I can be quite lighthearted and things can be a bit quirky and whimsical in my menswear.

DD: What has been most inspiring for this season?
Richard Chai: There's this one band in particular that makes me laugh that I listen to, it's Tone1.

DD: Is that like a massive gang of girl singers?
Richard Chai: It's a smaller gang of girls, like 4 girls as opposed to 9 or 15 - it's amazing.