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Richard Chai's Good Taste

The busy designer dishes on his fashion inspirations and his favorite place to kick back and relax.

Valentino Richard Chai

Richard Chai

Photo By Steve Eichner

Fashion Week is always hectic, but this designer is unusually busy. In addition to helming his eponymous label, Richard Chai is now lending his talents to other brands. This month, Chai signed on to be the creative director for outdoor brand Filson, and for fall ’12 he will debut a capsule collection of boots for Palladium, a division of K-Swiss Inc. He said the footwear collaboration complemented the aesthetic of his ready-to-wear line, which was unveiled last Thursday in New York. “There’s something nostalgic about [Palladium] to me, and [the look] fit with what I wanted to do this season,” he said. In Chai’s young career, he has worked with the likes of Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan and won 2010’s CFDA Swarovski Award for Menswear. Here, the designer dishes on his fashion inspirations and his favorite place to kick back and relax.

My design muse: “New York City has definitely been a big inspiration to me.”

Guiltiest pleasure: Eating at Momofuku. “Too much is not good for you. It’s not the best thing to eat if you’re trying to stay in shape.

Best vintage store find: A 1940s aviator jacket. “I buy a lot of vintage Harley jackets and military clothes, but this one was particularly amazing.”

Most memorable fashion moments:
The first day of officially being open in my studio, and certainly winning the CFDA’s Swarovski Award for Menswear. Those are moments you can never have again.”

Favorite vacation spot: “I love Barra [da Tijuca] in Brazil. Honestly, [I’m happy] anywhere there’s a beach and I can just check out and not have to deal with the work world.”