NEW YORK – Family has always held an important place in Brandon Maxwell's fashion shows, but never more than in his latest — a deeply emotional tribute to his grandmother, who has Alzheimer's, and the prominence of family in his life and career.
Saturday night's show in a dimly lit theater near Union Square also featured a return to the runway of supermodel Karlie Kloss, who both opened and closed the proceedings.
Unlike past shows brimming with bold colors, psychedelic patterns, blaring music and even a pink runway, Maxwell’s Fall-Winter 2022 collection featured neutral tones and warm, comforting ensembles like chunky fisherman sweaters paired with satiny long skirts and lush shawls.
The vibe was intentionally quiet and intimate, with the focus on his 84-year-old grandmother, affectionately called Mammaw. Maxwell said he'd found his way to fashion through his grandmother’s closet of treasures.
“We go on this road of going, going, moving forward,” Maxwell said in a post-show interview. “In the end, we are lucky if we have one person that really just sits by the bedside with us.”
The designer opened his show with a video montage asking “Who is Brandon Maxwell?” and the sound of Siri reading his Wikipedia page. Videos and photos of his family, friends and especially Mammaw filled the screen before it cut to black and her own words, “We had a good time, didn’t we?” echoed into the darkness.
Maxwell noted that he had told his models before the show about the significance of his collection. “I said to them before the show that this is the one chance I get to honor her life,” he said.
To Brandi Carlile's cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” — a nod to his hometown of Longview, Texas — models walked in tailored jackets paired with flowing dresses and those knitted fisherman sweaters over ballgown skirts. Maxwell also brought back his signature ready-to-wear red carpet looks and showcased figure-hugging floor-length dresses.
Kloss made a return to the runway to open and close Maxwell’s show. The two have become close over the years after appearing on “Project Runway” together as judges.
A big hit of the night was the feathered shawls that draped the models’ shoulders as they wound their way around the catwalk.
The last sounds of the show, fittingly, came from Maxwell's grandmother. He was heard asking her what she wanted him to remember most about their relationship. “Just remember how much I loved you,” came the reply.
“I’ve done a lot of shows where I was thinking about the process of what everybody else would think," Maxwell said after the show, “and this was probably the first one where I did not consider it.”