Not the Usual Suspects at the Public School Show


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Nick Wooster, a.k.a. Woost God (second from right), at the Public School presentation.

Credit
Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

There they were, their heads hovering around the line marking 6 feet, arrayed like perps in a jailhouse lineup. They wore solemn-colored sportswear, in black, white or blue: varsity jackets and shorts, rib-cuffed track pants and sleek tailored jackets.

This being the spring 2016 presentation by the New York fashion label Public School, one of the most anticipated of New York Fashion Week: Men’s, the men wearing the clothes appeared, at first glance, to be the usual fashion suspects. They went: model, model, model, model … Woost God?

There he was, a head or two below his model brethren: Nick Wooster, the street-style mainstay (also known as Woost God) and industry veteran.

In the next cell over: model, model, model, model … handsome bearded gent in Sikh turban. That would be the man-about-town Waris Ahluwalia, the jeweler, accessories designer and sometime actor (mainly for his friend Wes Anderson).

They were hidden more or less in plain sight at the Skylight Clarkson Sq event space in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, which is exactly the effect that the Public School co-designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne were going for. As Mr. Chow explained it, they wanted “people in the show to make you think, ‘Is that …?’ ”

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The Public School model lineup included the man-about-town Waris Ahluwalia, (second from left).

Credit
Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

It was.

“When your boys ask, you’ve gotta jump in,” said Mr. Ahluwalia backstage, returned to his civilian wardrobe (in this instance, a precariously unbuttoned denim shirt). “I’m like Seal Team 6. They only call me in for fashion emergencies.”

George Lewis Jr. — the musician known as Twin Shadow — also appeared in the fashion lineup. He had once again composed the Public School soundtrack (a mix of original music and samples from activist-artists like Nina Simone and Gil Scott-Heron, in keeping with the collection’s anti-establishment theme), and Mr. Chow and Mr. Osborne asked him to model as well.

At the last Public School show, in February, Mr. Lewis played live on the runway. This time, he was part of the ensemble, rather than a soloist.

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George Lewis Jr. — the musician also known as Twin Shadow — appeared in the lineup as well.

Credit
Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” he said. “I could play for hours. I don’t know if I could model for hours.”

Mr. Lewis is getting used to the fashion world. He’ll be taking in shows during the full course of fashion week and putting together a video of his experience to run on Tumblr. He is also creating the score for a video short commissioned by the magazine Dazed + Confused and the auto company GMC.

“Doing music for stuff like this is great,” he said. “But when people grill me about designers that I like, I’m kind of clueless. Getting less clueless as I do more of it.”

He would not, he added, be doing any more modeling this week.

“I am a Public School exclusive as of this year,” he said. “They own the rights to my face.”



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