Even by the most jaded fashion standards, Brandon Maxwell was having quite the day on Wednesday. The designer, who had just received news of his nomination for the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Swarovski Award for Womenswear, was “floating on air” at his first Los Angeles retail event at Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills. “That has not set in yet,” he said of his nomination. He was also still processing seeing his clothes on a retail floor, as swarms of customers greeted him at the cocktail-hour event, hosted by Elizabeth Stewart and Angelique Soave.
“I can tell you where I was when I made each piece and what song I was listening to, so to see multiples on a rack is surreal,” he said. Also on mannequins were versions of the white dress worn by Gwyneth Paltrow, a black one-shoulder gown worn by his longtime client and friend Lady Gaga at the Emmy Awards, and another column gown in dark green — an exclusive for Saks — inspired by a runway dress worn by Uma Thurman.
Maxwell may have become known to many first as Lady Gaga’s stylist and he’s grateful for the recognition she consistently shows him. Most recently, she attended his fall 2016 New York presentation and wore his custom pantsuit-gown to the Academy Awards, where she was nominated for Best Original Song.
“Growing up, my mom and I would always score the dresses at the Oscars, so it was always my dream to design an Oscar gown, and to have it on my best friend was so incredible. It felt really special,” Maxwell said of the golden moment.
“We’ve really grown together and she’s really stood behind me every step of the way.”
While Maxwell said he doesn’t design in color and he will always remain a fan of monochromatic tones, he plans to slowly incorporate other elements into his already well-formed aesthetic. “For me, color is almost an afterthought. As for prints, I will tread slowly, and you may see some sequins. I also don’t want to go into fur and leather too quickly because I understand I need to establish my point of view with my customers first,” he said. Spoken like a person wise for his 31 years.