DUBAI — Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School took their pre-fall show to Dubai, showing Monday night in a specially constructed space at the Dubai Design District with a view of the world’s tallest building.
The designers described the collection as a contrast between technology and nature. “It’s about where they meet and the idea of permanence in nature giving way to this fleeting platform of new ideas and the constant demand for newness,” said Chow. “It’s an interesting contrast that we played with, especially to do this here in Dubai which is essentially a new city just plopped in the middle of the desert.”
The natural elements in the collection included Japanese Shibori print jackets with ethnic-inspired necklines. “We used the idea of traditional indigo dyeing, but playing with it in our way, mixing with sports tailoring. The jackets were contrasted with sports stripes hanging from the arm,” said Osborne.
The collection also brought mesh to the top layer of pieces, using a two-tone mesh fabric of navy and white, creating a 3-D effect when layered over the Shibori print. “We’ve always had it as an underpinning of mesh in our collections, but using it this way was a way to show how we interpret prints: not taking it at face value,” said Chow.
The pre-fall silhouettes were long and layered, which Chow said were not done for the region, but have always been a part of the brand ethos. “In the DNA of Public School, there are a lot of Middle Eastern influences, especially in the men’s wear, the long tunics. That vocabulary already existed for us in terms of the drape and the proportions so it was interesting to see it all happen in the context of being here in the region,” he explained.
Dubai may seem an unexpected choice for the brand, but Osborne said: “it pushes out of our comfort zone. New York will always be our backbone.”
The designers spent a week on the ground ahead of the show and discovered many parallels between the two cities. “There is the same sort of feelings of ambition and aspiration and ‘make it happen’ attitude here that we feel on the streets of New York,” said Chow. Osborne added: “It’s a melting pot here, you have so many cultures mixing and that’s something that resonates with us and the brand. We couldn’t do this in a remote location, we need that city feel.”
Public School brought its collection to Dubai in collaboration with Cadillac. The carmaker unveiled its new XT5 model to the world after the show. “Contemporary luxury is casual and for us it’s important to reach out to our new target groups which are in fashion, design and architecture than necessarily in automotive,” Uwe Ellinghaus, chief marketing officer of Global Cadillac, said after the show.