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With a Designer Departure, DKNY Is Changing Up Its Look

Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the minds behind Public School, are leaving the helm of DKNY.

An army of models walk the runway wearing loose hoodies in blue, black, and white.
Models walk the runway at DKNY’s September New York Fashion Week show.
Photo: Albert Urso/Getty Images

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In late July, G-III announced its intention to acquire Donna Karan International from the French luxury conglomerate LVMH, and on Thursday, it confirmed that the deal had closed. Though that press release said nothing of any leadership changes at Donna Karan or DKNY, WWD first reported that some major switch-ups are in order. Specifically, that DKNY creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne have exited the brand, and that DKI CEO Caroline Brown is out, too.

Chow and Osborne are, of course, also the designers behind the streetwear darling Public School, and when they were hired to lead DKNY in April of last year, it seemed like they would be bringing a cool new edge to the brand, a makeover that’s now come to a screeching halt. With this transition, they’ll be back full-time at the label that brought them to the fashion industry’s attention, à la Alexander Wang departing Balenciaga to double down on his namesake label.

"Given the company sale and subsequent change in strategies, we have decided to step down and focus on our own business Public School,” Chow and Osborne said in a statement provided to Racked by Public School. “It’s been an unbelievable experience to work side by side with the wonderful people at DKNY, especially our amazing design team and atelier. We wish the company success in the future.”

The question now is what creative direction and business strategy Donna Karan International will take moving forward.

Here’s one concept: the return of Donna Karan, who stepped down from the company she founded in June of 2015. G-III CEO Morris Goldfarb told WWD that he had spoken multiple times with Karan, though he added that it was unclear whether she would return in some capacity.