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.
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.