The designer has been stepping on the business accelerator since finding backers in South Korean marketing company SK Networks Co. Ltd. last year. Chai has added resort and pre-fall deliveries, and now hopes for additional growth with men's wear and his first freestanding retail unit. There is also speculation that he is designing a limited edition collection for Target.
"A lot of people are doing accessories, but I wanted to start with men's wear because there is a huge void in that market," Chai said of the men's line, which features a mix of sleek wovens and knits with the same kind of architectural details that inform his women's wear. "It's things I want to wear and my friends want to wear."
Chai plans to sell the pieces alongside his women's wear in his first freestanding store, which he hopes to open for fall. However, he still has to find a location in Manhattan. "I have been looking at Madison Avenue, and downtown in the far West Village," he said.
With all these new initiatives, Chai recently retained Baron & Baron to work on marketing and branding his label. It resulted in a sleek brand book about the designer, with the text supplied by Glenn O'Brien, who was just named co-editorial director with Fabien Baron of Interview magazine.
"It was important to me, as my company is growing, to have a bible about what my brand stands for," Chai said. "As we start to develop retail stores and work with architects, it will offer a consistency.
"It will also be useful as we expand and look at other categories, including licenses for fragrance or shoes," he added.
Chai brought in Robert Burke Associates to help with merchandising and developing his wholesale business, which includes stores such as Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.
After his fall runway show, Chai plans to relocate to a 9,000-square-foot office on Grand Street that will feature a design studio and atelier, a showroom, a sales office and a finance department. "It will be the whole Richard Chai world," he said.Although a gig as consulting creative director for Onward Kashiyama's contemporary line Nave ended last year, Chai's design touch may be found elsewhere next year should he become the next guest designer for Target's Go International initiative. Chai declined to comment.
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)