NEW YORK – The family has always played an important role in Brendan Maxwell’s fashion shows, but no more than in his recent ones – a deeply emotional tribute to his grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and the family’s fame in his life and career.
Saturday night’s show at the dimly lit theater near Union Square also featured a return to the runway of supermodel Carly Kloss, who both opened and closed the review.
Unlike past shows filled with bold colors, psychedelic patterns, bright music and even a pink runway, Maxwell’s Fall-Winter 2022 collection included neutral tones and warm, comforting ensembles such as a stocky fisherman’s sweatshirt and magnificent scales.
The mood was deliberately quiet and intimate, with an emphasis on his 84-year-old grandmother, affectionately called Mom. Maxwell said he found his way to fashion through his grandmother’s treasure chest.
“We’re going down this road to go, to go, to move forward,” Maxwell said in an interview after the show. “After all, we are lucky when we have one person who really just sits with us at the bedside.”
The designer opened his show with a video montage with the question: “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 he turned black, and her own words, “We had a good time, didn’t we?” responded in the dark.
Maxwell noted that before the show he told his models about the importance of his collection. “I told them before the show that this was the only chance I got to honor her life,” he said.
On Brandy Carlisle’s cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” a tribute to his hometown of Longview, Texas, the models wore fitted jackets paired with flowing dresses and knitted fisherman’s sweaters over ball gown skirts. Maxwell also brought back his branded ready-made images from the red carpet and showcased floor-length dresses that fit the figure.
Kloss returned to the runway to open and close Maxwell’s show. They have come together for years after appearing on “Project Runway” together as judges.
The big hit of the night were the scales with feathers that draped the shoulders of the models as they twisted on the catwalk.
The last sounds of the show, by the way, came from Maxwell’s grandmother. He could be heard asking her what she wanted him to do most to remember their relationship. “Just remember how much I loved you,” was the reply.
“I did a lot of shows where I thought about what everyone else would think,” Maxwell said after the show, “and that was probably the first time I didn’t think about it.”
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