Louis Mayhew in "A Day With Public School" by Pavel Denisenko
Written by Lithemba Velleman
Public School embodies the spirit of New York: tough, no-nonsense, probably wearing black leather; but still with a sense of quirk that is not afraid to innovate and surprise. If there ever was a physical personification of the Risk Man, he would very likely be wearing Public School.
For this fall/winter, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the two designers who started the brand in 2008, gave us unfettered access to their collection to show it within a realistic New York setting. The runway show for the collection, served, broadly, as a political admonishment against the current political climate. Whilst one strategy to fight against an ugly status quo is to protest (in the form of slogans on red caps and tops that read "Make America New York", an alternative and maybe more persuasive strategy, is to proudly assert who you are and stick your guns: oftentimes that is statement enough. In Public School’s case, that sense of self is found in an androgynous aesthetic that is ambivalent to gendered clothing. And of course, a fair amount of stern black, in leather or sturdy wool.
Black, white and strong.
Black, white and strong: predominating black with snippets of white is the signature Public School color palette. This provides a clean minimalist canvas allowing for a play on shapes and for the designers to show off their pin-point accurate tailoring. This season, Chow and Osborne put men in in an oversized silhouette that included long sleeves and truncated, voluminous pants (very on-trend), with bursts of color that come as a breath of fresh air without being contrived.
Every New Yorker knows you need sturdy outerwear (even in spring) and Public School makes notoriously cool jackets and coats. This white cotton shirt coat, cut long and loose on the body to give a relaxed silhouette, is all the more striking for the unique art etching print; whilst the no-nonsense black leather jacket with buckle details on the collar and sleeves imagines a rugged bon vivant who is as comfortable on a battlefield as he is being driven in the back of a dark sedan.
Early spring and fall are all about the smarts to layer appropriately: early mornings give way to balmy afternoons in the spring and crisp mornings and cold evenings are forgotten during sunny days in the fall. The trick with layering is sometimes realizing that what lies beneath the outer layer can be visible and so a peekaboo pop of color sneaking through more demure colors is a clever way to make the overall look moreinteresting and quirky; flirtatious, even.