DKNY is losing two incredible designers – Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the co-creative directors that led a youthful transition in the appearance of the brand since their arrival in April of 2015. Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne are leaving DKNY and going back to designing exclusively for Public School.
This departure apparently was brought on by the announcement that Donna Karan International would be purchased from LVMH, the French luxury conglomerate and acquired by G-III. Not only are Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne leaving, but also Donna Karan International CEO Caroline Brown as well.
In a statement provided by Public School to Racked, Chow and Osborne stated: “Given the company sale and subsequent change in strategies, we have decided to step down and focus on our own business Public School.”
Further the statement contained well wishes: “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.”
Caroline Brown released her own statement about departing from her position as CEO of Donna Karan International that she has filled only since January of 2015 saying: “As Donna Karan International transitions to new ownership and therefore new directions, I have decided it is the right time to step down and explore new opportunities.”
Additionally she stated: “I know the company rests in good hands under the new leadership of G-III for the next stage of its development,” and though the vote of confidence is appreciated, it is a slightly bewildering situation.
Not unexpectedly Donna Karan herself put out a statement in an interview with WWD as well saying: “The people of Donna Karan have my heart. Together, as a family, we created and built two brands, Donna Karan and DKNY, that I will always be thankful and proud bear my name. I want to send everyone at the company my love and thanks for their enormous energy, passion, creativity, and dedication, and good wishes as this new chapter begins.”
The official departure from the positions will be completed by the end of the year. Speculation abounds with ideas that perhaps Donna Karan herself may come back in at least some capacity to lead the company she founded.
She has not been away for too long, Donna Karan only stepped down in June 2015. Regardless, DKNY will be under the same umbrella that other brands including Levi’s, Karl Lagerfeld and Calvin Klein are.
G-III reputedly does very well by their acquired gems, so it will be very interesting to see what happens and how it will affect the aesthetics of the brand overall. Even if not for the employee turnover, there would have been changes, but the loss of the co-creative directors and CEO, who themselves were recently added with a timeline under 2 years on their belts with the company, means a lot.
The most recent and well-received adjustments to the brand will likely be undone, but no one can be sure of what will happen.
Photo courtesy of DKNY