Brandon Maxwell Pre-Fall 2020

Sometimes fashion is about careful consideration and sometimes it’s about impulse. On Friday, as he was readying his pre-fall for retailers, a lightbulb turned on for Brandon Maxwell, illuminating the fact that, for the first time, he should show the collection to press.

A couple of e-mails later — done. Why the sudden change of routine? Maxwell’s brand is still young. He has only been shipping clothes to stores for four years, and past pre-seasons kind of left him a bit cold. “The clothes weren’t necessarily reflective of who I am or where I’m at,” he said during the hastily scheduled appointment. Feeling happy and empowered after his September runway show, Maxwell determined to transfer that buoyancy to this pre-fall effort. He set out to make a collection just of things he likes, period, no deeper resonance than that. Gathering his team, he told them, “Let’s just start with colors we like, with fabrics we like. Let’s not do anything other than just make what we like.”

Backing that up: daily direct online communication with his customer about what she likes, wants, needs. That includes daywear. Originally perceived as a red-carpet guy, Maxwell emphasized that his business is heavily weighted toward day, a reality he wanted to drive home for pre-fall. His all-time best-selling item is a pair of ripped jeans, which he reprised here. In fact, the lineup has a considerable tony basics component — crisp shirts, tank tops, simple sweaters, trim blazers, slim-cut pants — put together to look Texas sexy, casual but unapologetic. Maxwell, who famously started out as a stylist, has reembraced that skill set. “I think for some time I leaned out from being a stylist, but I love being a stylist. I love putting the pieces together,” he said.

Brandon Maxwell Pre-Fall 2020

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Not that it’s all about pieces. Maxwell knows his way around a good dress, and loves a waist-conscious silhouette and skirt with movement for day and night. He also loves color, and here he showed plenty. He focused on a range of vibrant oranges, their impact heightened by the showroom table setting. It  featured voluptuous roses and a big bowl of Swedish fish in shades of the hue. All very different from the black and white that dominated his early shows, but ultimately, more reflective of his natural aesthetic — and personality. “I do think I’m kind of a colorful person,” Maxwell said. Color him self-aware.

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