the new dkny girl is a boss

Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne's first collection for the iconic brand brought Donna Karan’s cool downtown New Yorker into 2015 – in pinstripes and lace.

by Alice Newell-Hanson
17 September 2015, 4:50pm

When Donna Karan launched DKNY in 1989 she called it the pizza to her main line's caviar. And thus she became the patron saint of the downtown 90s working girl -- the girl who fantasized about looking cute (but being taken seriously) as she hailed a yellow taxi to her creative-industry job and later slipped on sneakers to walk home, grabbing a slice on the way.

Who is that girl in 2015? "She has the same spirit," say Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, who also design their own line, Public School. "She's aspirational, she's determined, so that drive is there, but she's effortless." The duo, both born and raised New Yorkers, lived through DKNY's original heyday. They remember the iconic Houston Street mural that marked the threshold to downtown. Now, as the brand's new creative directors, they're tasked with reworking that heritage for a new generation of young downtown women.

Yesterday, they presented their first DKNY collection, for spring/summer 16, in the bright-white marble basement of One World Trade Center, the new digs of many of the fashion editors in attendance - very apropos. 

So here's what the new DKNY looks like: A pinstriped dress with an asymmetric fold at the front that made it both SFW and also downtown bar-appropriate. An oversized, wide-shouldered black blazer that brought to mind Kim Bassinger in 9 1/2 Weeks (sexy but profesh, and styled with a simple white tee and black boots -- no pants, no problems!). And sheer lace. The final portion of the show flashed nipples through long-sleeve mesh dresses in black and electric blue. The 2015 DKNY disciple is not all work and no play.

Here's where the look referenced OG DKNY: T-shirts. True to the original DKNY formula they were worn with everything -- from striped suiting pinafore dresses to flowing silk slips (our favorite look). They telegraphed exactly the "Hey, I'm cool even when I'm at work" vibe that Donna Karan invented.

And what does Donna think? She had dropped by the studio to relay her approval and best wishes before the show. "She's a kind of a fairy godmother," said Osborne.

Read more i-D fashion month coverage here.


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans

Fashion month
spring/summer 16
dao-yi chow
maxwell osborne