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Richard Chai is having his first-ever sample sale as we speak, and we admire his hands-on involvement as well as his efforts to keep it civilized. (We all know sample sales can sometimes get downright savage). First off: We spotted him there last night at the preview, stocking racks and answering questions, while brother Eddy (of Odin) literally rang up purchases. Second: It's in a ground floor space at the posh Soho Grand Hotel—nice touch, right? Upon entering, hang a left just past the concierge desk. The sale is in the Harbor Room.
The menswear is in the front corner of the room, comprising about four or five racks and a table of knits. At the top of the price spectrum, we spotted a series of gorgeous toffee-colored leather outerwear: Cropped peacoats and a hoodie. They're heavenly soft and are priced at $250 (from $795). We also loved a nice variety of coats and blazers priced at $175 and $150, respectively, marked-down from $495 to $995. Standouts: Knubby wool car coats, signature Chai parkas in plaid with fur-trimmed hoods, raw-weave doublebreasted blazers in cobalt and suit jackets in subtle plaid.
An entire spectrum of Chai's micro-plaid woven shirts are available, and at a mere $50 (from $175 to $285), they're a better deal than the Gap and certainly almost anything at the Barneys Warehouse Sale. Likewise the tanks, tees and long-sleeve knit shirts (a patchwork irregular mustard stripe was our favorite) at $35.
We thought sweaters could've used a bit of a markdown. Standard-issue knits, including stripey cardigans with quirkily engineered seaming, gray and navy henleys, and doublebreasted cardigans with that signature zipper enclosure were $100—that's acceptable. But the heavier sweaters—including that signature zipper cardigan in a thicker, knubbier knit—were $200. That's a big jump, especially with spring looming.
That said, window-pane–checked Bermudas and glen plaid trouser shorts are $50 (from $195 to $255), while a slew of summery pants in a broad seersucker are $75.
All that plus a very attentive staff, sizes running from smalls to extra-larges (we spotted a lot of larges), some inconspicuous places to try things on behind rolling racks, and the fact that credit cards are accepted make this a good sale and worth a swing-by. Plus, telltale boxes—still fully-loaded—in a roped off space probably means restocking.
· Richard Chai Helped Set Up His Sale at the Soho Grand [Racked]
· Dealfeed: Richard Chai [Racked]
· Richard Chai [Official Site]