Scenes of great adulation at Saturday night’s fashion show by Brandon Maxwell – screams, howls, hollers and endless ripples of applause throughout the performance.
Cheering led, it turned out, by real cheerleaders from Navarro College, characters from the hit documentary series Cheer, who whooped pretty well every look in this show staged inside the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West.
Maxwell’s cast marched around the remarkable exhibits inside the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals, Bella Hadid sweeping past a stand of four giant stuffed moose in a brilliant cocktail hour combo of shawl-collar tuxedo, black latex-like bra and mannish silver sequined pants.
Maxwell is a designer with plenty of range – cutting classical screen goddess columns and following them up with power-shoulder leather wrap jackets that Claude Montana would have applauded. Though his most exotic idea was a series of shiny coat dresses and jackets made in a techy tortoiseshell nylon.
In this co-ed show, he also showed lots of great clobber for guys, largely on-duty playboy looks – micro Prince of Wales double-breasted blazers or dashing top coats worthy of Tamara de Lempicka.
A brilliant soundtrack by French DJ Sebastien Perrin – who seems to be everywhere these days – included dance classics and charming rock ballads, like “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” by Ashley McBryde, the Arkansas-born country music singer. A southerner like Texas-born Maxwell.
In a generous gesture, Maxwell’s program dedicated the show to the “loving memory of Ed Filipowski,” the noted New York publicist who died last month.
In effect, Maxwell creates with infinitely more craft than any of his contemporaries in America. His clothes reek sophistication. Too often in New York, young designers rise and fall in a half decade of insider fame. Not Maxwell, who seems destined to have real staying power. Expect to hear a lot more about this Texan.
As a matter of fact, someone in Paris should really hire Brandon to direct a great haute couture house. Maxwell is that good.
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