Sometimes, in order to really see ourselves, we must step out of our shoes — or hand them over entirely to gain a clearer perspective. From where he stands, Brandon Maxwell has unfailingly worshipped at the altar of womanhood, even when we ourselves, human as ever, are prone to a momentary lapse. After countless seasons, his vision has crystallized, identifying strength and beauty to reconnect women with, and dress them for, their highest selves.
His Fall/Winter 2023 collection was no different. It opened and closed with runway regular Cara Taylor in a tuxedo jacket and matching cuffed shorts in black and white respectively, bookending a collection of eveningwear that massaged masculine codes and reinterpreted them anew. More examples: an abundance of shirting (some elongated as dresses) and oversized shorts informed the bulk of the collection, which was peppered with double-breasted overcoats and shoulder padding to home in on the theme.
Was the designer deterred by cooler climates? Au contraire. Maxwell leaned forcefully into a wintry palette and heavy fabrications to match. Grays, chocolates, chestnuts, snow white and black featured in alpaca wool, ribbed knits and buttery leather. The comfort-conscious designer cleverly deployed the hallmarks of leisurewear and loungewear we have become so accustomed to, integrating zippers and peplum sleeves for a utilitarian yet relaxed feel.
In doing that, his collection evidences a widespread desire to dress up. The exacting eveningwear meister wedded elements of conceal-reveal, cutting keyholes at the shoulders and decolletage of his dresses and, elsewhere, delivering tailored leather jackets to layer on top. As the collection reached its end, so did the proverbial day of the woman in Maxwell’s clothing, who slipped into a dress (Look 30 deserves an honorable mention) or a short suit (36) and went forth into the night.