Fashion / Style File

Brandon Maxwell Parties Down with Big-Time Models (and Denim) at Fashion Week

Beloved Texas Designer is Hotter Than Ever

BY // 09.09.19

NEW YORK — With such ’80s hits as “Dancing in the Dark” and “Like a Virgin,” as well as Alice Cooper’s “Genuine American Girl” blaring on the speakers in a dark Brooklyn warehouse transformed into a strobe-lit pink-tinged nightclub, Brandon Maxwell was in a party mood.

The big-name models showcasing the 34-year-old designer’s spring 2020 collection at New York Fashion Week exhibited the same spirit, too. Irina Shayk, Bella Hadid, Candice Swanepoel, Grace Elizabeth, Stella Maxwell, and Emily DiDonato swung their hips like a washing machine spin cycle, with seductive grins and even a twirl or two on the catwalk as they jauntily carried oversized handbags emblazoned with gold hardware over one shoulder.

Maxwell, who recently was named the Womenswear Designer of the Year  by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and dressed Lady Gaga in a black satin racerback gown for the Oscars, displayed a joyful collection featuring lots of denim (some jeans were even paired with a flowing train), crisp double-breasted blazers, ball skirts, belted minidresses and short shorts in seersucker fabric, and an evening gown with cutouts that barely contained one shapely model’s jiggly breasts.

The collection, which will available in Houston at Elizabeth Anthony, has a much more relaxed feeling than Maxwell’s previous efforts, featuring a greater variety of casual looks while maintaining the expert tailoring and saturated monocromatic colors that the designer is known for.

Legendary stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzelle styled the show in a breezy way to capture the spirit of the collection. Several models in denim jeans and button-down blouses were dripping in chunky rainbow-colored Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry made especially for the Brandon Maxwell collection, evoking images of a young Lynn Wyatt in a 1970s Helmut Newton photo. (Maxwell is a big fan of Wyatt and has cited her as inspiration.)

Maxwell also introduced men’s clothing for the first time, with loose-fitting suits in tomato red, forest green and silky pink, inspired by his fiance Jessy Price, who had been encouraging him to design menswear.

The Texas-raised designer, who hails from Longview, said he had purposely evoked the party atmosphere because he was ready to have a good time after undergoing some personal challenges over the past year, including his mother’s bout with breast cancer.

He enlisted such sponsors as Dell Technologies, Nine Banded Whiskey, Deborah Lipmann, and Cha Cha Matcha to sponsor the show, so proceeds could go toward scholarship funds, including one for a deserving student in the University of Texas fashion program.

And, as has become a Maxwell fashion week tradition, he invited guests to arrive early for cocktails and a repast. A burger truck dubbed “Brandon’s Shake Shack” was stationed outside the venue offering free cheeseburgers and fries from the fast casual restaurant chain. The ravenous crowd eagerly gobbled them up while waiting for the party to begin.

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