Following his deeply personal, intimate fall show, designer Brandon Maxwell went to California and ended up staying there for three months.
Maxwell proclaims he isn’t a “California person” but his vibrant resort collection, which was also designed there, was an optimistic result of his mood-boosting trip.
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“I’m definitely one of those people who has the emotions connected to the collections. When it’s winter and fall, it’s dark and a little sad, and when it’s summer and spring, it’s very summer and spring. I was coming out of that last show, which was very intimate, very quiet — I loved all of those silhouettes, but they were so dark. The whole team came to California, we were sitting watching the sunset and I was thinking, you know when those Disney movies when the castle is dark and all of the sudden it turns into light? — I was thinking about everything becoming alive a little bit more.”
The ability to be outdoors daily was intoxicating to Maxwell, he said, as were his new Los Angeles-based experiences — including hosting the Oscars red carpet and handling photo shoots locally.
“More and more, I believe Brandon Maxwell becomes a playground for me, for lack of a better word, where I can really express myself. Also going into this, our last pre-spring and spring were two of the bestselling collections we’ve ever had. I spent a lot of years thinking I need to get back to the first collection, the structured black and white. In actuality, I can do that and do it well, but maybe it’s not so close to my personality. I think when you saw the show in September — everyone’s dancing, there are psychedelic patterns, everyone’s eating a cheeseburger — I think that’s more me. I’ve done a lot of black and white, but I do love color. Our last two collections we did, which were a little bit more wild in nature, are what our customer is looking for. I think the woman that wears the brand is a very expressive, joyful person.”
The collection was indeed joyful. Maxwell leaned heavily into color, painting and spraying airbrushed palm tree adorned beachy landscapes and hazy stripes to reimagine signature silhouettes, as in his mini bubble dress (with new squared-off triangle neckline, thick straps, and same Neoprene backing) and pleated or crushed ombre ballgowns.
“What I loved in the last pre-spring and spring, is taking the idea of something that looks relatively simple in silhouette, but the amount of time and effort that goes into patterning it — each has to be patterned into tiny pieces, matching seams together, mathematically placing,” he said, showing how the painterly hems of his vivid sweaters matched up perfectly to the edges of his fluted hem pencil skirts. Elsewhere, the legs of a bestselling denim jumpsuit were given dip-dye ombre effect; suiting and waffle knit came in punchy brights, and full skirts boasted allover swishy rectangular pailettes.
The looks gleamed happy glamour, complete with big ’80s hairstyles, playful accessories and colorful manicures — Maxwell said he had been listening to Latto’s “Big Energy” while designing the collection — which resort had plenty of.