Brandon Maxwell’s start in fashion is the kind fairytales are made of. He was assisting the renowned stylist Nicola Formichetti on a shoot with a still-emerging 24-year-old songstress who went by the name Lady Gaga. Two years later, Gaga had employed Maxwell as her full-time ‘fashion director’, where he was responsible for, among other things, her 2015 Alaïa Oscars look (remember the red gloves?), her 2016 Grammys look, a Marc Jacobs-designed David Bowie tribute, and her internet-breaking Valentino couture Cannes look in 2018. In 2015, when Maxwell launched his eponymous womenswear label, Gaga was, naturally, an early A-list adopter (remember that 5-part extravaganza at the ‘Notes on Camp’ Met Gala? That was Brandon Maxwell), but so was everyone else in Hollywood: Blake Lively, Dakota Johnson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Thandiwe Newton are all fans, as is Michelle Obama.
Maxwell has long stuck to the realm of event dressing, designing what he knows best for an audience he’s already established. But Covid-19 presented a new challenge: what does a Brandon Maxwell collection look like when glamorous events are few and far between? He answered that question this evening with the unveiling of his spring summer ‘22 collection in New York City. Gone were the more rigid shackles of evening wear. In their place: something fizzy, frivolous, and incredibly fun. Gigi Hadid slinked down the runway in low-slung silk trousers with a matching bralette and blazer. Elsewhere we saw figure-hugging skirt-and-shirt sets finished in bold, psychedelic prints, or sparkly sequin slip dresses with a subtle gingham underlay.
As for daywear, high-cut one-piece swimsuits paired with low-rise drawstring shorts provided cheeky flashes of skin, while long pleated lamé dresses and skirts offered the glamour of red carpet dressing for the 9-5 slog, should we eventually return to an office. “When I started I was maybe insecure about not having a fashion education, so I felt I needed to be more serious,” Maxwell told Vogue after the show. “But I’m not that serious a person. During the pandemic, I decided that if I got the opportunity ever again, I’d like to do it as me.” When playing it unsafe looks this good, why wouldn’t you?