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.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)