Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of DKNY

One of the most exciting fashion announcements in recent years was the news that Public School’s streetwise designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne would share the creative director role at DKNY following Donna Karan’s retirement. While amused surprise was the initial public reaction, the industry registered how well-suited Chow and Osborne were to steering DKNY. The two New Yorkers were already critical darlings—winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for their own label, Public School, where they mix streetwear with crisply tailored athletic gear. Even Public School’s palette corresponds with the power colors of DKNY. Anticipation for their spring 2016 debut collection at the helm of the established house quickly followed.

Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of DKNY

Begun in 1989, DKNY is the faster, younger arm of Donna Karan Collection. It favors sportswear, workwear and separates that can be mixed and matched to create a full wardrobe. Its essence is modern—casual but professional. In the ’90s, DKNY dressed models of the moment like Shalom Harlow and Esther Cañadas in what the label referred to as “the official uniform of New York.” With the onset of the current ’90s nostalgia, Opening Ceremony released a capsule DKNY collection in 2013 with Cara Delevingne as its spokesmodel. Insiders knew that Chow and Osborne—with their own celebrity following and New York roots–were the duo to usher in a new heyday for the label.



In just a few short years, New York designer Jonathan Simkhai has charmed a cross section of the celebosphere. Taylor Swift, Kerry Washington, Kendall Jenner, Anne Hathaway and Gigi Hadid are just some of the famous ladies who’ve stepped out in his sweetly revealing styles. Though his peekaboo lace and cutout constructions are undeniably sexy (Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski are fans), Simkhai carefully offsets these body-baring looks with structured silhouettes and delicate embellishments that make his creations elegantly wearable (Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett prove this to be true).

Jonathan Simkhai

By balancing structure and sheerness, Simkhai has struck on a particular kind of sexiness that appeals to the modern woman. To make his strongly feminine designs, he relies on modern influences wrought in nostalgic fabrications. This is especially visible in his lacy spring 2016 collection.

We spoke with Simkhai about his success, modern romance and how to wear lace with swagger.

Your collections are very romantic. What is modern romance to you?

Yes, my collections tend to be very romantic. I think that’s because this way of dressing, for me, represents an ideal. These days, romance seems to often get lost amongst all of the dating apps [Simkhai’s brother is Grindr founder Joel Simkhai] and social sites, as well as our need for instant gratification. For me, modern romance is about reflecting on what is considered traditionally romantic and updating it to feel appropriate for our modern day.


Runway images by Jessa Carter

Where is the most romantic place you’ve been recently?

After the fall/winter 2016 show, I took a mini vacation to the Caribbean island of Anguilla—a literal paradise with turquoise waters and white sand beaches—it’s hard not to feel romantic there.




Dao-Yi-Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School; image by Shawn Brackbill

The 2016 CFDA Awards nominations have been announced and–not to make it about us–we’re proud to be partners with 11 of the honored brands.  The winners will be announced at the CFDA Fashion Awards June 6 at Lincoln Center in NYC.

For winning designers a cash prize is involved as well as a trophy, but more importantly, entrance into an elite peer group which can offer crucial feedback and mentorship.

Congratulations to our nominees!

Click here for the full list

{ 1 comment }

The briefest of timelines on creative directors Michael and Nicole Colovos:
2001: Met
2003: Married
2004: Won the CFDA’s first annual prize for emerging designers
2007: Took over as designers and creative leads at Helmut Lang and showed their first collection
2014: Showed their final collection for Helmut Lang
2015: Completed their first collection for their own brand, Colovos
2016: Showed it to Olivia Kim


To call the Colovoses new designers is obviously incorrect, but to call their new line new, emerging and exciting is certainly correct. With an emphasis on easy silhouettes, modern style and luxurious fabrications, the pair is making their name the name to know. Think: denim that fits and wears like the best trousers, supple leather skirts with just the right amount of sway and sweatshirts in rich linen, cotton and alpaca blends.



What history will remember of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Class of 2015 is they were the ones who broke the rule—the rule that there can only be one winner.

Anna Wintour, Ricardo Tisci, Rio Uribe Amanda Seyfried, Diane von Furstenberg, Aurora James, Jonathan Simkhai, Steve Kolb

The stars of this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award ceremony

On Monday, November 2 at Spring Studios in New York, Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg announced, on behalf of a panel of judges that included Nordstrom fashion director Jeffrey Kalinsky, that due to the extreme nature of “authentic” talent in the mix, there would be not one but three winners in this 12th annual fashion competition.

We were there to catch exclusive commentary from past winner and footwear genius Paul Andrew and others, and to pass on the inspiring message from Givenchy‘s creative director Riccardo Tisci—the evening’s keynote guest.



Well, we’d hate to say we told you so, but Paul Andrew has been a winner in our eyes since his feminine, edgy collection for Spring ’14 hit our floors. Color us just plain extra happy then, that the footwear genius was awarded the CFDA’s highest honor this week in New York. On the occasion of this Very Big Deal, we spoke to the designer himself as well as the in-house tastemaker who knows his work best. 

“As you can imagine, I’m on cloud nine right now,” Paul Andrew told us. “I’m so excited and so proud to receive this accolade. It is such an incredible honor and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. This is literally a dream come true. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund program has put so many small designers on the map, it has not sunk in that I am now part of that class. To the shoe obsessives of the world, I say ‘stay tuned’! There is much more coming from Paul Andrew; I have ambitions to launch a men’s collection, e-commerce, and am looking to further elaborate on the core offering in my women’s collection, and while there is significant work to be done and much more focus and energy required I could not be more motivated.”

“Our attraction to Paul Andrew stems from his unique designs, which embody both a sexy refinement and focus on fit and comfort. He is genuinely engaged in making women look and feel good,” said John Langston from our designer shoe team. “We’re eager to see the momentum behind his creative direction, lending credibility to his new must-haves in seasons to come.”

SHOP: Paul Andrew


Congratulations to Greg Chait of the Elder Statesman for winning this year’s $300,000 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Prize! Not to mention the runners-up–Tabitha Simmons and Jennifer Meyer Maguire—who will each receive $100,000. We couldn’t be happier for the winning trio and all the nominees; we’re so excited to see what’s in store for these talented, up-and-coming designers!

See all of our CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund coverage, including designer shows and video.


Time for a field trip to Los Angeles for the 10 designers, where it’s all about a celeb-filled runway show at Chateau Marmont styled entirely by Vogue.

Don’t miss checking back next week—the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund 2012 winners will finally be revealed!


Episode 5 of The Fashion Fund: Tiffany & Co. Challenge. The finalists are given six weeks to create new looks inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany’s or The Great Gatsby. The result? We get to see some fresh and gorgeous designs–not to mention a $10K pair of sunglasses.

Which is your favorite so far?


Episode 4 of The Fashion Fund brings the judges into the final 10 designers’ studios and showrooms for a little one-on-one time. The designers also receive their first challenge after seeing themselves and their work published in the November issue of Vogue–enough to make anyone swoon!

The final 10 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists, photographed by Peter Linbergh for Vogue.