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Public School and M.Patmos Win the International Woolmark Prize USA Regional Finals

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Maxwell Osborne, Dao-Yi Chow

Following its 2014 CFDA victory, it was perhaps no surprise that fledgling brand Public School, helmed by Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, were selected as the regional finalists for the inaugural International Woolmark Prize for menswear. As soon as editors and insiders walked into Milk Studios’ penthouse last night, where the regional womenswear winner, M.Patmos, was also announced, it was easy to see which 100 percent merino wool ensemble the duo had turned out for the competition. Their gray high-necked hoodie and shorts look, crafted from boiled, felted wool and trimmed with bonded rubber, was the epitome of the brand’s street-meets-luxury menswear aesthetic. “We were up to our ears in wool!” laughed Chow when asked about creating the outfit. “We wanted to base it on the idea that wool is really the oldest fiber used by humans. We wanted to make something that was timeless and that could be worn in this lost civilization that was between ancient times and a postapocalyptic world.” Menswear judge Alexander Wang (a “formidable debate partner,” according to fellow judge and presenter David Granger, the editor in chief of Esquire) told us that he was looking for someone who had a “unique point of view. [The designers had to] fully understand who [they're] speaking to, what [their] brand is about, and where [they] want to take it.” No doubt, Public School ticked all the boxes. Osborne and Chow will now go on to design a six-piece wool collection, which will be presented when they compete against finalists from Europe, Asia, Australia, and India and the Middle East in London in January of next year. And they feel confident about their chances for taking the $95,000 final prize. “I think we’re cool because we’ve really thought out the six looks,” said Chow. “It’s going to be really sick if we can develop it in the way we conceptualized it.”

M.PatmosThe womenswear winner, who along with the menswear champions took home $47,000, was less of a sure thing—and the competition, which included Rosie Assoulin, Jonathan Simkhai, Nonoo, and Whit, was stiff. But given M.Patmos designer Marcia Patmos’ experience with knits (she used to design them for Lutz & Patmos), firm understanding of her customer, and standout wool getup, this award was, in retrospect, hers to lose. “I was thinking about a woman who was traveling, and she’s possibly going to lose her luggage,” Patmos told us. “She’s going to many countries in different climates, and what she’s wearing has to get her through all situations,” she added of her look, which featured seamless knitting, double-faced tailoring, a vegetable dye painting technique, and hand-knitting. The end result comprised a crisp cream-and-tan overcoat, ribbed stirrup leggings, cropped gray trousers, and a simple sweater dress. Indeed, Patmos’ model looked as though she was ready for anything.

Patmos is more excited than nervous about the 2015 finals in Beijing. And the designer revealed that she’ll be collaborating with artist Ryan McGinness on her upcoming Spring ’15 collection. “We’re doing something really good!” she beamed. We’re looking forward to it.

Photos: BFAnyc.com

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Dept. of Culture