With Public School racking up a prestigious CFDA Swarovski Menswear Award earlier this year, the creators of the New York-based brand are keenly aware that expectations have since soared. “There are a lot more eyeballs,” conceded co-designer Dao-Yi Chow. “It’s pressure from us – we don’t want to disappoint. Now we have the attention of the Anna Wintours, and we take that responsibility seriously. We want to live up to the hype.”

Step one, then: On Sunday afternoon, Public School inhabited the sun-drenched Milk Penthouse to showcase its Spring – Summer 2014 collection. Vibes were light and celebratory, with friends and family—a diverse amassment that included Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon, MTV host Sway and two members of the New York Knicks—exchanging enthusiastic pounds and hugs with Chow and fellow designer Maxwell Osborne.

While colors were muted and minimalistic as usual, the new collection offers a more sophisticated take on Public School’s staple pieces (think denim jeans and letterman jackets). Most models wore dark six-panel hats, lending a sporty, team-like unity to the two-tiered group. There were black reversible jackets made from nylon and wool, black leather bombers and drop-crotch sweatpants with tapered ankles and drawstrings. “It’s less of a departure than an evolution,” said Chow, who named an asymmetrical vest as his favorite piece. “It really brings this idea of tailoring and sportswear together.”

When told that Osborne had been spotted at Prabal Gurung’s after party the previous night, Chow chuckled knowingly. “That’s the dichotomy, the duality. He’s out and I’m home with the kids. It’s like Eddie Murphy and…damn, I don’t want to be Nick Nolte!”

Photos by Justin LeBlanc & Andy Boyle

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