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There Is More Work To Do for Public School

Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow know how to get people talking, but can they get them to buy?
Public School Pre-Fall 2016 | Source: Courtesy
By
  • Lauren Sherman

NEW YORK, United States — Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow are media darlings for a reason. They are not only affable and cool, but also thoughtful about how their brand is perceived, making sure to work with the right stylists — Kate Lanphear for women's, Eugene Tong for men's — and collaborate with the right partners. Their limited-edition line with Nike, which launched less than a week ago, is already sold out. Osborne and Chow have also made an effort to establish an aesthetic language that will keep men's and women's collections aligned as they develop. This means using elements of sports uniforms, like athletic stripes and netting, and classic menswear cues like wool suiting and shirting. Long-and-layered garments are part of that, too.

Pre-Fall originally debuted in November at a Cadillac-sponsored runway show. The most magnetic look was a long white shirt with sheer striped insets layered under a geometric sweater dress; it popped. A shibori-printed kimono coat tied up with grosgrain silk ribbon at the wrist — the ends of the ribbon loose and floating along as the model walked — also caught the eye, even if the technique has been overused on the runway in recent seasons.

The bigger issue, though, is hanger appeal. No, these aren’t directional garments, and that’s perfectly fine. But they do need to be clothes that women will actually want to wear. Right now, the individual pieces aren’t spirited enough to convince this reviewer that the target audience will be enticed to lay down a credit card.

Chow said that the collection was about finding a balance between nature and technology, using traditional techniques like shibori against high-tech fabrics like laser-cut mesh. Perhaps they’re overthinking it, as there is little emotion in these garments. They will have to push further for Autumn/Winter to get people talking again.

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