Richard Chai has been named senior vice president, creative director of Club Monaco, a division of Ralph Lauren Corp. The appointment is effective Nov. 18.
He succeeds Steven Cateron, creative director, senior vice president of design, who had been with Club Monaco in increasingly responsible positions for the past 11 years.
Chai will head up design and technical design across women’s and men’s apparel and accessories and report to Francis Pierrel, global brand president and chief executive officer of Club Monaco.
As part of his role, Chai will collaborate closely with Club Monaco’s marketing and store design teams and its retail partners, ensuring one consistent creative vision is delivered to consumers.
Neither Chai nor Pierrel were available Monday for comment.
Known for his understated sophistication, Chai started his namesake women’s label in 2004 and men’s label in 2009. His lines have been recognized for their cool, contemporary minimalism. He recently closed down his business.
“I love the idea of comfortable clothes that envelope you,” Chai told WWD in 2006, when showing his women’s line featuring “sumptuous cashmeres.”
In 2010, the Council of Fashion Designers of America named Chai best new men’s wear designer. In 2008, Chai was a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist for his Richard Chai Love collection.
A graduate of the New School’s Parsons School of Design, Chai, who grew up in New Jersey, interned for Oscar de la Renta Geoffrey Beene and Dior before working full time for Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs. He also took over duties from Hussein Chalayan when he became a designer of Tse, and worked at Armani Exchange.
Among Chai’s varied projects over the years were designing Marc by Marc Jacobs and Cristiano Ronaldo for two labels, underwear and socks from 2013 and shirts from 2014. He also designed a co-branded men’s wear line for Penguin for the spring and fall 2011 seasons called Richard Chai for Original Penguin; a capsule line for Target’s Go International; is the creative director for outdoor brand Filson, and has partnered with Keds on a men’s collection.
Club Monaco, which was founded in Toronto in 1985 with the idea of creating a line of “better basics,” caught the attention of Ralph Lauren, which acquired the brand in 1999 for $56 million. Club Monaco is available at its own freestanding stores globally and began selling in Nordstrom last year.