The template for a decent launch this week has been a small presentation stocked with the designer’s high-profile network. We saw it at Monse, and to some extent, Warm. On Monday night it was stylist Brandon Maxwell’s turn. Seated at Mr. Chow’s to view Maxwell’s collection of sleek evening tailoring were his former boss Nicola Formichetti, his so-called godparents Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, his friend Alexander Wang, president of Bergdorf Goodman Joshua Schulman, and his top client Lady Gaga, who wore a plunging black jumpsuit from Maxwell’s collection. Maxwell is responsible for the most understated, plainly chic look with which she’s been associated.
If Gaga is a great billboard for Maxwell’s wares, he has said she’s not necessarily his muse. Aware that celebrity stylists who try to be designers are met with skepticism, Maxwell kept the lineup tight and devoid of stunts in a palette of black, ivory and blush. With no formal design training or tailoring background, he displayed a keen sense of cut. Jackets and jumpsuits were spare but sensual. Decoration came in the subtle, smooth curves of layered, structured hems at the back of a blazer and the bell-sleeve cuffs of a minidress. The whole production was pleasantly down to earth, a point Maxwell hammered home by closing with Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman.” Cue a mini performance from Lady Gaga, who began openly weeping.