By David Lewis Taylor
Photos By Fernanda Calfat
Are Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, founders and designers of Public School, industry game changers? Narrated with a singular vision, their designs connect the definable multi-cultural heritage of these public school educated New York City natives with their undefinable understanding of a generation for which design is an evolutionary process. A generation that sees the design process from the high-concept pinnacle downward, embracing style from avant-garde arbiters like Rick Owens, Helmut Lang, Raf Simons, Yohji Yamamoto, Martin Margiela, and Alexander Wang, to name a few. Street style - even urban style - is no longer just "real" (or imagined "real" by mainstream designers, and/or Kanye West). It is aspirational because it wholly embraces fashion's fluidity and a modernist view that fashion is a progressive art form.
Did Chow and Osborne bring an understated elegance to their Public School Spring Summer 2016 collection without losing their strong sense of urban- athleticism? They sure did. Satins and silks shimmered and fluttered, as did wide cut pants and generous sheath dresses, many complete with long kinetic paneled slits in the fabric. Long dresses, shorter dresses, and skirt outfits were framed by layers which included elongated vests, a stunning satin trench robe, and long jackets that added breezy bottom volume to the somewhat monastic torso silhouettes. Men's pajamas like shirts and pants added an additional masculinity to some looks while an instantly covetable modernistic "tennis shirt" added both femininity and strength to the collection. Toggle closures, hanging loose straps, chunky sandals, loosely cinched belts, and a few bomber-like jackets kept the collection from being uptight and too "uptown".
These guys are making waves and winning industry awards, and recently appointed the Creative Directors at DKNY. Chow and Maxwell represent a shift in the direction of urban style and they will prove to be game changers if influencers are smart enough to keep up with them and their evolving vision.