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Truman Says

Richard Chai Spring 2012: Life's A Beach

Oftentimes, designers are nebulous about seasons. They might be showing spring/summer, but their runway is inexplicably a dreary procession of black overcoats and even fur. Richard Chai's Thursday morning show was a bright burst to kickoff Fashion Week. With a rainbow palette, Chai conjured Caribbean excursions from the first look to the last. It came from a very personal (and beachy) place.

"I needed a vacation when I was designing!" Chai said backstage post-show. He created a safari of prints and bright pastels - standouts included colored chinos (which have apparently moved beyond a trend into a staple), a coral blazer, and even some Jamaican inspired short suits. Everything was loose, wearable and luxuriously casual. On a couple of looks, models wore a sheer T-shirt over their patterned ensembles - it echoed mosquito netting on a bed in a Saharan motel room. "It makes it look a bit cloudier," says Chai, who is always down for layering. "I love playing with things and keeping it subtly quirky."

See a slideshow of runway looks and behind-the-scenes action here.

--WILLIAM VAN METER

all photos courtesy of Sarah Olin

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