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Interview at Brandon Maxwell New York Fashion Week



Written by Emily Dickson, CNN

It's hard to name an A-lister that Brandon Maxwell didn't dress. Oprah Winfrey, Megan Markle, Lady Gaga, Octavia Spencer, Carly Kloss, Viola Davis, Isa Ray, Blake Lively and Michelle Obama wore the stylist's line, transformed into the stylist's line, to award ceremonies and other state awards.

"It's nothing like getting out of a car when you are nominated for an Academy Award, which is like the penultimate moment in one's career," said Maxwell, a week before his last New York fashion show. "I wanted the women I work with to feel good."

Meanwhile, designing for Obama was "one of the defining moments" of Maxwell's life. "Dressing 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 Camburis / Getty Images

Maxwell has always been inspired by the women around him when he worked as a fashion director for Lady Gaga, Texas. "I've always had strong women. I grew up with a lot of love and my grandmother running a clothing store," he said.

"I've always been attracted to women, throughout history, who have used clothes as a way to be remembered," he explained. "For me, I can give this to someone through what I know how to do, is a joy. "

Maxwell studied photography at a college in Austin before moving to New York for an internship with stylist Deborah Afshani." She hired me full time seven days later, "Maxwell said. "I was in my last bag of lodgings, so thank God she did."

  Michelle Obama Brings Brandon Maxwell to State Dinner at the White House 2016 Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Lung.

Michelle Obama brings Brandon Maxwell to a state dinner in 2016 at the White House with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Lung. Credit: Bloomberg / Bloomberg / Bloomberg through Getty Images [19659009] After working with Edward Eninifoul, now editor-in-chief of British Vogue, he takes up a position with Nicola Formichetti, the stylist responsible for many of the most famous Lady Gaga's looks (including the VMA meat dress). In 2012, he became Gaga's fashion director.

It was not until 2015, however, that he launched his own line, until this year three events took Maxwell to a completely unanticipated level of glory. In March, the real fashion design show Project Runway resumed with Maxwell as judge, along with Elle editor-in-chief Nina Garcia and former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth.

In May, he donned Lady Gaga for the Met Ball, helping her through three changes to her red carpet dress – from a voluminous hot pink dress to crystal buttoned nets and lingerie. Then came the June CFDA Awards, where he was honored as the Women's Apparel Designer of the Year.

"The most important thing about having a relationship with Gaga is that when your life changes, you have someone to understand what I was very ill prepared for. My whole life has changed," Maxwell said. "It literally blinded me."

  Lady Gaga wearing Brandon Maxwell at the Met Gala in May 2019

Lady Gaga wearing Brandon Maxwell to the Met Gala in May 2019 Credit: Dimitrios Camburis / Getty Images for the Met Museum / Vogue

His collections usually reflect his personal experiences, not current trends. "I can literally look at every show and I can tell you the thing that defined my life in six months. The 2019 Spring Show was a great big party," he said.

However, the following collection reflected a more somber mood, with color-coddling replaced by minimalist dresses in black and white. At the end of 2018, while working on the show, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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

His already recovering mother and his closest friendships continue to influence his design; moreover, he credits them with pushing him to start the brand in the first place. "All my girlfriends are women who have taken risks in their own lives," Maxwell said. "Gaga, my best friends from home, every person said, 'OK, thank you so much for coming to the party we were waiting for you to attend. ""

Watch the video above to see more about Brandon Maxwell.


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