A Woman's Man:
The Real Brandon Maxwell

WORDS BY MEGAN HAYES

It’s also the woman that Maxwell is interested in dressing, one that uses fashion as armor or to lift her mood or to become someone different for a day or an evening. In fact, fashion’s ability to transform is one Maxwell has seen first hand via his relationship with Gaga and it’s something that is central to his brand ethos. “I want to be that safe place that [women] can go, where they know that every time they come to us they can get something that will make them feel powerful and great,” explains Maxwell. This season, those “somethings” are the perfectly cut cigarette pant (likely one of the best you’ll find), blazers that are simultaneously classic and cool, and mini dresses that make showing that much skin chic again.

It’s easy to think you know Brandon Maxwell. He’s friends with Lady Gaga, he designs collections that are nearly exclusively black and white, and he holds his shows far from the runway, in intimate New York haunts where seats are hard to come by and an after party invariably follows. But where you might expect to find an elitist, fame-driven designer, is a thirty-year-old from Texas whose talent comes not from formal training but from years spent styling and getting to know first-hand how fashion can play a role in helping women look their best. They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps, an adage that rings especially true for Maxwell.

“I have adored women for as long as I can remember,” recalls Maxwell, pointing to his “beautiful” grandmothers, mother and sisters when he says it. When he recalls memories of his mother from growing up, it’s not only her beauty that registered but the example she set: she was respectful, kind to others and would never attend a party empty-handed—and she always made time to her hair and makeup before she left the house. For Maxwell, “it’s the idea of that women who can have and do it all.” Jackie Kennedy was another such woman and one who has long been a source of inspiration. “The thing I love about her so much is that nobody thinks about all the terrible things that she had gone through,” he says. “She walked out the door every day and presented the most calm, collected, poised version of herself."

“I want to be that safe place where women know they can get something that will make them feel powerful and great.”