Blurred Lines from Public School

Its been a busy twelve months for the award winning design duo Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School. As the newly minted professors of cool, they snagged both the Swarovski young men’s designer award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA ) and first place at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Chow and Osborne--veterans of the creative playground MILK Studios--debuted the next wave of fashion cool during Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week (NYFW), allowing us to audit their “Streetwear Sophisticates” class. As if we wouldn't have been satisfied with the mind blowing menswear, we also got a glimpse of the tomboy counterpart: the womens collection.

Drawing allusions to “New Pioneers,” they  blurred the lines typically separating men and women. This was intensified by the many unisex layered pieces hitting the runway. It was as though the kids of Public School have used each others closet interchangeably. On a night out, he might don a cape and she a parka, only to switch pieces mid evening, ensuring that the fashion watchers have something to Instagram.

From the surgical construction of certain American frontier styles to a revisionist look at urban classics--combining quilted fabrics with a motocross-inspired tweed jacket or a mossy parka in glossy twill. The guys are honest and stay true to their aesthetic of precise multilayer tailoring and a guiding rebellious spirit, Public School reminded us that street-wear is sophisticated and doesn't have to nod to sagging jeans with tattered hemlines. A suit jacket bearing a kimono closing; a twill gabardine trouser with an elastic drawstring waistband; a crisp white cotton shirt-dress as the foundation of a tunic beneath a cape; and broad-brimmed hats to boot. Catch that, if you can.

From the modern prairie to a tea house to the sophisticated street chic, this was a lesson in raising street attire to a higher level—beyond angst. With this presentation, Chow and Osborne inked their tenure and Public School left NYFW as the new masters of the “You cant sit with us” set.

[Edited by Sherin Nicole]