After months of rumors, DKNY, the more accessible sibling line of Donna Karan International, has named Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow as its brand new creative directors. Osborne and Chow are the founders of the New York-based street wear brand Public School, which has been a favorite of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, in particular, for several years now (You may recall that the deisgn duo won the 2014 CFDA Award for Menswear Design – for which they are nominated again this year – and the 2013 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund).
In a push to connect with the next generation of young designers and consumers, DKNY, which is responsible for 80 percent of Donna Karan International’s business, has confirmed that Osborne and Chow’s positions as creative directors are effective immediately. Industry darling, Prabal Gurung was also rumored to be in the running for the job but maintains a less urban and more sophisticated, feminine aesthetic – making him a less ideal fit, according to industry insiders. Oh, and DKNY didn’t stop there. The LVMH-owned brand has named a new chief imasge officer: Hector Muelas, former creative director of Worldwide Marketing Communications for Apple.
“I started DKNY with the goal of creating a brand that captured the best of New York and could bring that great energy to the world. It’s been an incredible journey… Now is the right moment for its evolution and I’m so excited for the new chapter of this company working together with this new creative team,” Donna Karan, who will continue to serve as creative director of her eponymous label, said.
The first collection from the pair will be womenswear, unveiled at September’s New York Fashion Week, with menswear to follow.
The New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman made some interesting points regarding the appointments, stating: “Both [Public School and DKNY] share a certain urban identity. On the one hand, this suggests Mr. Maxwell and Mr. Chow will be able to successfully modernize DKNY; on the other, this will make it a challenge to retain distinctions between their brands, always an issue when designers do double-duty at two houses. [Pierre-Yves Roussel, chairman and chief executive of the LVMH Fashion Group] said LVMH was not concerned about the latter issue, though he also acknowledged that holding two shows in the same fashion week would be a challenge for the designers.”
She continmues on to write: “Still, the appointment is fully in line with other recent LVMH designer moves, including bringing Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony to Kenzo and Jonathan Anderson to Loewe. All the designers share the same cool, non-establishment cred — though they are now fully employed by the establishment. All also continue to design their own brands.”