Brandon Maxwell Fall/Winter 2019

by Long Nguyen


What a difference a season can make. At last September spring show staged just off the West Side Highway complete with BBQ, hamburgers and a, fuschia pink carpet lined runway designer Brandon Maxwell celebrated his hometown Texas roots. With the intimate fall show where two rows of chairs bracing a simple white cotton walk path put the audience as close as possible to view the clothes with little distractions in the way.  Now inside a rectangular space in a side reception hall at the Pennsylvania Hotel, the décor was stripe down for the clothes to become the center of attention. 

This time the celebration turned inward for a show as an ode to his mother and to the many women in his life that have contributed to his personal growth and the development of his label since that debut 2015 at Mr. Chow in New York. “I developed a deeper appreciation for women who transform the ugliness and brutality of reality into something beautiful and substantial. I found myself thinking about the potential of clothes to act like armor against the elements both physical and spiritual. The resulting silhouettes are a kind of fantasy: one that is designed to celebrate the incongruencies between what we want and what we must face,” the designer said in a printed foldout note. The brutality that Maxwell referred to is his mother recent treatments for breast cancer. 

Translated that into actual clothes meant clean linear and shapely jackets or long black coat or draped satin dresses in bright greens and fuchsia pink and clothes devoid of any elements of embellishments. The opening seven looks of the show consisted of mainly the day wear quotient with impeccably made garments for everyday use – slim collar dress, slim single-breasted jacket over black belted dress, short sleeve mock neck blouse and skirt, or the perennial black suit now worn with a black sport bra. Daywear has been a strong component missing from previous collections as they were more focused on evening dressing. But for the moment at least the classic strapless dress done in black and white print, short cocktail dress in sheen satin, or red carpet fuchsia gown along with an ice blue turtleneck blouse and satin ball skirt still dominated but this time the clothes looked effortless.  As the business expands, the need for day clothes becomes more imperative and these day looks will eventually become a core section of the brand. In addition, several models carried a variety of handbags – black rectangular bag, black and white print round bag, or square transparent Lucite case with golden brass buckles. Small leather goods are now an integral part of every fashion brand large or small as the sales margins and turnovers are significantly greater.