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Brandon Maxwell's New York Fashion Week Interview



Written by Emily Dixon, CNN

It is difficult to name an A-Lister Brandon Maxwell has not put on. Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle, Lady Gaga, Octavia Spencer, Karlie Kloss, Viola Davis, Issa Rae, Blake Lively and Michelle Obama have all borne the stylist's line of the same name to honor ceremonies, national dinners and more.

"There's nothing like getting out of the car when you're nominated for an Oscar, which is like the penultimate moment in someone's career," Maxwell said a week before his last New York Fashion Week show , "I wanted the women I work with to feel good."

Designing for Obama has meanwhile been "one of the defining moments" in Maxwell's life. "Wearing the First Lady was like" This is the American dream, "he said.

  Brandon Maxwell at the CFDA Fashion Awards in June 2019.

Brandon Maxwell at the CFDA Fashion Awards in June 2019. [19659007] Credit : Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

From his childhood in Texas to his work as fashion director for Lady Gaga, Maxwell was always inspired by the women around him. "I've always had strong women around. I grew up with love, and my grandmother, who ran a clothing store, he said.

"I've always really cared about women, for people in history who used clothes as a way to remember." "It's a pleasure to be able to give this to someone I know how to do it."

Maxwell studied photography at college in Austin before moving to New York for an internship with stylist Deborah Afshani. "Seven days later, she hired me full-time," Maxwell said. "I was in my last quarters, thank God she did that."

  Michelle Obama wears Brandon Maxwell at a 2016 White House dinner with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Michelle Obama wears Brandon Maxwell at a 2016 White House dinner with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Photo credits: Bloomberg / Bloomberg / Bloomberg on Getty Images [19659009] After working with Edward Enninful, now editor-in-chief of British Vogue, he moved to OK, a position with Nicola Formichetti, the stylist who worked for Many of Lady Gaga's most notorious looks are responsible (including the VMA meat dress). In 2012 he became Gaga's fashion director.

It took until 2015, however, before he launched his own line, and this year three events drove Maxwell into a completely unexpected fame. In March, the fashion design reality show Project Runway starred with Maxwell as jury member alongside Elle editor-in-chief Nina García and former teen editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth.

In May he donated Lady Gaga for the Met Ball and helped her with three outfits on the red carpet – from the voluminous pink dress to the crystal-covered fish nets to underwear. Then came the June CFDA Awards, where he was named Womenswear Designer of the Year.

"The great thing about the relationship with Gaga is that, as your life changes, you have someone who understands what it feels like to be so badly prepared for, my whole life has changed," said Maxwell. "It literally blinded me."

  Lady Gaga wears Brandon Maxwell at the Met Gala in May 2019.

Lady Gaga wears Brandon Maxwell at the Met Gala in May 2019. Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for The Met Museum / Vogue

His collections reflect his personal experiences rather than current trends. "I can literally watch every show and tell you what has shaped my life over the past six months, and the Spring 2019 Spring Show was a big party," he said, with colorful hilarity, replaced by minimalist black and white dresses. In late 2018, while working on the show, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I love to make women feel good, and the fact that the most important woman in my life felt very bad was very hard for me to endure," he said. "I was mad at everything and I think the show looked like this." After the models entered the runway, Maxwell brought his mother to the stage to bow to him.

His recovering mother and his closest friendships continue to influence his designs. In addition, he owes them that they urged him to start the brand in the first place. "All of my girlfriends are women who took risks in their own lives," Maxwell said. "Gaga, my best friends from home, everyone said: 'Ok, well, thank you for coming to the party we were waiting to see.'

Watch the video above to learn more about Brandon Maxwell.


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