One goes into fashion week expecting some surprises. In fact, one hopes for surprises in every show they sit down to watch. This whole exercise would become quite monotonous if it were not for the possibility we might see something quite unexpected.

Richard Chai took the unexpected to a whole new level. On the third look in the show, he sent a model down the runway wearing, believe it or not, a bathrobe.

No, I’m not kidding. A plaid bathrobe. The kind my father once wore. Heavy flannel. Thick belt. The model is wearing a white, high-necked blouse underneath, and a pair of black mules.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I checked my Twitter feed (@charlesletbette if you’re interested). Yes, others had seen it, too. Then, the pictorial evidence started pouring in. In fact, no one was tweeting any of the other looks for a while. The audience was stunned with amazement.

Richard Chai sent a bathrobe down the runway. And it was an immediate hit.

The remainder of Chai’s Fall/Winter 2014 collection is dark toned hipster chic that is dead on target for the label’s primary 20-something demographic. With a palette of blacks, browns, greys, blues, and dark reds, these are the looks that make it easy for one to appear as though they’re bored with the whole world, while doing their best to not actually miss anything they might later be able to criticize.

The styles themselves are largely what one might expect: super-skinny jeans, bomber jackets, long shirt tails (untucked, of course), and unassuming. The one thing that is unique about seeing these clothes on the runway is that they’re all clean and pressed. One would imagine that in their real-world incarnation, they’ll be wrinkled from lying on the floor or in a laundry basket, probably bearing a condiment stain, and quite possibly smelling of beer. No worries, they’ll still look just as good.

What one doesn’t want to miss is the quiet, subtle detailing Chai has put into this collection. Take the monochrome floral applique for example. If one is not paying attention, the design was easily missed as it whooshed down the runway. Dark lace panels and bits of crushed velvet hint at a Victorian touch without making a full-on commitment to the style. There is a lot here that young adults are going to love.

But for all the amazing style in this collection, I can promise it will be forever remembered as the time Richard Chai sent a bathrobe down the runway. What an impressive surprise!

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