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For his second runway outing, Brandon Maxwell chose NYC’s Monkey Bar in Midtown with red banquet seating, dark wood paneling and extra moody lighting. It’s hard to believe that the designer and stylist to Lady Gaga had arrived earlier in the day on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles, where the performed her incredible David Bowie tribute at the Grammys.
Gaga was also in tow for Maxwell’s show and still rocking her neon-red Bowie hair — and when the lights went up the first runway song was Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure.” The choice was a further tribute to the late iconic singer — and a very apt description of the pressure fashion’s rising star felt while prepping for his sophomore show at NYFW.
“A thousand percent more pressure,” said Maxwell of presenting his fall collection. “[Gaga] was with me backstage and I felt sick. My whole life has been about amazing women that have supported me and the same thing happened tonight … I didn’t want to let them down.”
Much like his debut collection last September that received critical acclaim (and several red-carpet hits) for its minimalistic, sculpted dresses and beautifully tailored suits, Maxwell’s fall 2016 lineup consisted of equally chic yet effortless pieces. No specific inspiration, just the perfect cocktail dress, cigarette pants and a standout ivory gown jumpsuit. “I really loved that white jumpsuit at the end and the very first suit that came out and the pleating — I love that he’s incorporating different textures of black,” said Gaga of the 31-year-old designer’s mostly black lineup. “Black is a very classic womenswear color in New York, and I think that it never goes out of fashion. I wear black in Los Angeles as well … I sort of wear my New York pride when I’m in my black there.”
“Brandon makes his collections like I think people make classic records. He doesn’t put anything on top of it that’s taking away from the thing that’s making it distinctly graphic and unique and memorable. This collection, in my opinion, doesn’t feel affected by someone who had so much success for the first one … His ego could have been so inflated and he could have done something really awful, but he didn’t. He stuck to who he is and he made beautiful clothes,” Gaga added.
Maxwell, whose designs have been seen on Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lawrence and Reese Witherspoon, says he appreciates the support from Hollywood: “I’m from a small town and I grew up reading the magazines and I loved seeing celebrities — honestly, there isn’t one specific woman I dream of dressing. Anyone who supports us I’m thankful for, and I love them all.”
What’s next? “The second Brandon’s last collection ended he went right back into the studio to work, and he was also working with me on everything that I’m doing and on fashion and editorial styling. It’s always about the work,” said Gaga, who will travel with Maxwell back to Los Angeles in a few days for another major fashion moment — Oscar night. Luckily, the pair has proven that they thrive under pressure.
MINIMAL CHIC: Models at Brandon Maxwell’s fall 2016 show.
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