Brandon Maxwell is an emotional guy. It comes through in his self-reflective, at times gushy Instagram captions and impassioned backstage interviews. Thankfully, his sentimentality doesn’t manifest in a gloomy way, at least in terms of his work. It was quite the opposite Saturday evening, when his pink-washed Texas tailgate of a show ended with a contagious eruption of gleeful hootin’ and hollerin’ from the cast and the crowd. The models were groomed and glammed like a pack of Highland Park debutantes, strutting the pink carpet as the audience looked on from the beds of pickup trucks or seated atop Yeti coolers. (The cars and coolers had charitable post-show destinations.)
After working on the collection in Marfa, Tex., Maxwell made spring an ode to his home state, playing to its high-wattage clichés with campy sophistication. The show opened with a stampede of hot pink — a shift with a popped collar; a wrapped jacket tucked into satin short-shorts; a jumpsuit with flutter sleeves — on girls with Breck hair, toting red 10-gallon hats in Lucite hat cases. “Dynasty” Dallas came through in the bold solids and matchy-matchy outfits, polished off with a silk scarf tied around the neck, gold herringbone chain accessories and knee-high boots with a whiff of country western to them. Maxwell played with all-American country-club prep, showing crisp white button-downs that were buttoned way down with bright silk pants, working some branding along the way in the form of little Bs here and there. He finished big with glamour gowns, bombshell silk ball skirts and took his bow with his grandmother on his arm.
From the big lights to the big trucks to the pink carpet to the models’ pageant-ready glow, the show had all the ingredients to melt down into cheesola. But the nifty thing about Maxwell is that he offset his small-town nostalgia with a worldly eye earned from years of working in fashion.