DKNY Appoints Public School Founders as Creative Directors

by William Buckley


Well played DKNY, well played.

While one of the more successful examples of a diffusion line, in that it really has become an entity widely perceived as essentially independent of the brand’s signature line, Donna Karan International, DKNY has struggled in recent years to maintain the influence it had in the ’90s and ’00s. Licences including DKNY Jeans and DKNY Active with Liz Claiborne broadened the brand’s reach, but as is sometimes the case, diluted the brand’s message, with discrepancies in quality and confusion over target demographic.

While those two licenses in particular were brought back in-house in 2012, efforts to re-establish the original inner-city aspiration embodied by New York have had only moderate success, and despite global business and LVMH ownership, investment in the brand has not been obvious.

Until now.

The announcement today by LVMH that Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, the highly decorated founders of Public School, will take the reins as creative directors is a huge game changer, with expectations in line with LVMH’s previous appointments of Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony to Kenzo and Jonathan Anderson to Loewe.

“Our new creative team has a solid platform to re-energize and redefine what authentic New York means for DKNY right now given today’s world of fast living, extreme innovation and global competition at the highest level,” says CEO of Donna Karan, Caroline Brown.

The duo will show their first women’s wear collection at New York Fashion Week in September. No news yet on when their first menswear collection will be, but we tentatively suspect the second season of New York Fashion Week: Men’s.

Osborne and Chow will continue to design Public School.

Photography by Tatiana Shoan for As If Magazine