Richard Chai's Shades of Gray

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When it comes to teamwork, Tuesday night's cocktail reception at the Electric Room at the Dream Hotel showed not one but two brilliant pairings. As a continuation of his partnership with Effen Vodka and DIFFA, Richard Chai debuted a brand new custom gown, modeled by good friend Hilary Rhoda, to a full house of revelers. In creating the dress, Richard focused on commonalities between his own design philosophy and that of the brand, culminating in a gorgeous design in a brilliant shade of gray.

"When you look at [Effen's] bottle, it's super pure and really graphic, but what a lot of people don't know is that it's acutally hand crafted," Richard explained. "All of the labels are cut by hand and put on by hand. It's amazing - I love that element of function and design. It's also latex so that bartenders can grip it and it doesn't slide out of their hands. So it's beautiful, hand crafted, with an element that's functional, which are all things that I subscribe to in my own design philosophy. When going into [designing] the dress, I had the same idea - being inspired by that hand crafted detail. All of the pleating is done by hand, but then there's all of this graphic, architectural structure to it, made of a really fluid silk fabric. I did it in gray because if you take the two bottles that are black and white and made them into one, it's a shade of gray."

Topping off the perfect revel of the custom gown was Richard's model choice for the evening, based off of the friendship that he and Hilary have cultivated over the years. "She literally came in for the fitting and could have worn it out!" he said. Once you realize the pair have been friends for nearly ten years, the easy fit makes perfect sense!

Coveting the custom design? One lucky fashion lover will have the chance to call this gown their own, as it's set to be auctioned off in support of DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS in the near future!