So before you start reading, no this is not a PSA about the great state. Wait who am I kidding yes it is. Because on the 8th day- God made Texas, Book of Gexodus 7:11- the greatest state in the U.S. (yes I'm biased), and today, I want to thank the Good Lawd for the beautiful soul that is B! Now, no I don't mean Beyonce. She's a given. I mean King Bey- none other than designer extraordinaire- Brandon Maxwell.
So let's rewind and let me give you the sweet southern tea on this man. From Longview Texas, Brandon Maxwell has done more than paid his fashion industry dues. In the few years I have been following him (he's been a big deal way longer than that), he continues to amaze me, because he just gets it- all of it. I would fashion him a younger Carolina Herrera or even Ralph Lauren with how well he structures his garments, but honestly, he is in a fresher and fiercer league all his own.
On this past Saturday night, he showcased his Spring/Summer 2019 collection at New York Fashion Week. Now, I have been counting down the days to this collection like a little kid on Christmas. Could it be the excitement he gave me with his almost 30 minute documentary "Back to Dust"-probably?
See I have always viewed him as a visionary, but to hear him speak in "Back to Dust" about his experiences, growth and creative process allowed me to feel like I could really connect with him. Like he was a new best friend in my head. When you love fashion or any industry you are passionate about and have a desire to leave a mark, you deal with a lot of sugar honey ice tea (I'll let that simmer) to fulfill those dreams.
Long nights, rejection, questioned confidence usually about yourself, criticism- constructive or not. But you believe you can, so you do. You see the vision so clearly even if no one else does. Oh but when they do, you are more than elated. Not because you seek their approval, but because that you wish to be understood, even if just a little bit. You wish to be heard and well-received. That's what I took from Back to Dust.
The art, fashion and the interviews of the locals were just tasty little add-ons, but it was Brandon's visceral ability to candidly tell his story that moved me. It was his honesty about his views on fashion vs. art and its different mediums. It was well...purely Brandon- no pretense or New York shade, just a man and his love for the elements in HIS element. The element called home.
modelIt told an immaculate tale about a dreamer doing all he can to make his mark, the Maxwell Mark. That's what is I saw and it lead me to tears. Now listen those who know me knows that doesn't take much, but what can I say, this piece of work really moved me. It made me feel like I was not alone and that this fashion DREAM is worth every bit of pursuit, blood and tears. It also helped that he and I are incredibly close in age as well as both attended college in Central Texas. Can someone say long lost Irish twinsies? It made me feel like of he could make it happen then so could I. That's another thing I love about him- is his push for others to pursue their dreams and his inclusion. He had a filmography friend chronicle, Back to Dust and he shot his best friend in several pieces of his collection as opposed to using models.
And at the tender age of 33- Brandon has had the career of dreams. From being the lead designer for Lady Gaga to dressing the likes of youthful beauties such as Joan Smalls, Reese Witherspoon and Blake Lively to Hollywood legends like Jane Fonda, Viola Davis, Nicole Kidman and even Oprah. Then, there is the holy grail that is Duchess Megan Markle and Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, which comes as no surprise since his brand is built around chic sophistication and he is known to draw inspiration from powerful yet stylish women of the present and past like Jackie O.
Thank yall for bearing through this rant, but I think it's important to acknowledge the influence that young designers have on others aspiring to penetrate the industry.
Ok so now to Fashion Week.
BRANDON.....BROUGHT....IT...ALLLLLLL OF IT... AND LEFT YOU THERE TO FIGURE OUT WTF TO DO WITH IT!
I mean not only was the production quality there, but the music and of course the garments. Oh Good Lawd up above, the garments. See in Texas, we are wayyyy more than ponchos and dusty cowboy boots. No we don't ride horses to work and yes we have style. This collection paid homage to the heat that Texas brings and I ain't just talking about the weather. It was the tastiest tailgate you could imagine, being held at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan and giving you glamour mixed with the Friday Night Lights grit that only the South can give.
The use of color, the silhouettes, the movement, the styling. This show was for the stylish "glam-mas" who pass down their chic pret-a porter wears to their endearing "glam-daughters" and "glam grand-daughters". I mean his muse afterall was his adorable maternal grandmother, Louise and the city of Marfa, Texas.
I WANT IT ALL! Ok ok ok enough talking about it- let's see some shots.
So first, there were the details. Come on with the ultra chic lucite boit chapeau housing bottles of branded Brandon Maxwell bubbly and beautifully oversized bolero style hats. I mean Brandon please tell me you are venturing into accessories next, because if so I will take 2 boxes, 3 hats and a whole case of those bottles of bubbs please, along with few accent "B" signature scarves as well. Not to mention the perfect pairing of footwear from boots and open toed sandals with roping with thanks to a collaboration from Gigi Burris.
Then there was this hella cool use of overalls as sleeves on two very special looks giving a nouveau nod to shabby chic.
And I love how he deconstructed the cut of a men’s wear shirt and turned it into an ultra femme tie top. To me that represents- the women of the South and our love for a mix of masculinity with feminity. Not only was it clever and clean, but so effortless and wearable. Watching him bring this concept to life in “Back to Dust” was more than inspiring.
There was also such a great use of bright color with sultry reds, piercingly smooth pinks and teals, nudes and golden yellows with hints of black accents against crisp, clean whites and flowy and ethereal silhouettes. Not one piece was under-styled or unfinished and rarely are there collections where I could myself in every single garment, but this was certainly one. Cohesion, cohesion, cohesion was the key player- as every single piece worked well with the next and read very well.
Here's a look at some of my highlights, but you can also check out Vogue.com for the complete 44 look collection.
And to close the show- he brought out his muse- none other than Miss Louise Johnson aka "Mawmaw"- his grandmother who was also his inspiration for his Fall/Spring 2018 campaign to close. Is she not precious?
Talk about a family affair. Grandma's in the South are some of our first fashion inspirations. They understand timeless and classic style as opposed to fashion. These are the women who dress for themselves not for the opinions of others because they recognise the beauty of self. This was something my charming late grandmother- Josephine aka "Suga" taught me. She continues to be a source of inspiration for me time and time again, so it was beautifully bittersweet to see Brandon share such a pivotal moment with "Mawmaw" and so gracious to watch.
There was also the "MAC IT HAPPEN" competition, which I learned of too late, where you could submit a video speaking about your dreams and have the opportunity to be flown to New York with backstage passes to Brandon's show.
Additionally, he has partnered with Kia to make donations in an effort to improve the educational systems in Marfa, as well as gift a Kia Telluride to teachers to aide in commuting to my home town of Austin and Dallas, Texas for additional professional training. Brandon believes in helping others have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. I mean how can you not LOVE him?
If would like to see more behind the scenes of the collection and other incredible pieces- check out him out on Insta- @brandonmaxwell. or his website www.brandonmaxwellstudio.com and get a glimpse into why he's my kind of guy.
"Now what y'all know about them texas boys...coming down in candy clothes...smoking runways...blowing shows" #BigPimpinBrandon #UGK #UndergroundKoutureKing Congratulations on an outstanding collection Brandon and maybe one day we can meet for coffee and a collection. #Heyagirlcandreamcantshe?
"Yall Come Back Ya Here" XOXO,