Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne’s DKNY show notes didn’t mince words about their fall objectives: “We just want to have fun.” Isn’t that the dream?
It went on: “Celebrate the obvious, but turn things on their heads and flip things inside-out.” Aha. The obvious. For Chow and Osborne and the brand they’ve been tasked to revive, that’s the Nineties and streetwear — two genres that feel more popular now than they were originally 25 years ago.
It’s not easy to clarify a vision in a crowded field. The collection certainly exuded a sense of play with many strong and well-executed, if not totally original, ideas. Chow and Osborne are still finding their way. They seemed to have approached fall as a game of free association with all things Nineties and DKNY — wide-shoulder pinstripe tailoring, cropped tops, minimalism, Helmut Lang, Japanese deconstruction — threw them in a blender and sent them to the Public School of layering.
The tomboy sexuality of Nineties girl bands was a focus. One could see the TLC “Creep” era attitude in the washboard-ab-baring proportions of a cropped pin-striped tailored jacket and white shirt and ultrawide, baggy pin-striped pants with suspenders. There was deconstructed shirtdressing and slinky, satin apron dressing. They did some cool things with jumpsuits, including a sporty, blank tank style with a cable-knit top and bunchy sweatpant bottoms. Some of the denim was printed phonetic plays on the DKNY logo — DICNY and DICKNEE — and for the finale, the models all donned sweatshirts bearing funny new meanings for DKNY, such as “Dazed Kids New York,” and the possibly self-effacing “Designers Know Nothing Yet.” They’re getting there.