Brandon Maxwell, fashion designer and stylist to Lady Gaga, reveals why he’s ready to brighten things up and why he loves to return to Austin.
Known for his minimalistic and monochromatic garments, lauded fashion designer Brandon Maxwell might surprise more than a few runway watchers when he debuts his spring 2018 collection this September. The Texas native—who is also Lady Gaga’s stylist—usually favors black and white to focus on the tailoring and craftsmanship of his eponymous label, but now he’s ready to take on color.
“I’m not a thematic designer; it’s all very emotionally driven,” says Maxwell, 32. “The first few years were a struggle, with my [career] taking off very quickly. I’m now engaged, happy and clear about who I am, and that’s well represented in the spring show. My life feels very colorful.”
It takes a world of confidence to go from small-town East Texas to Manhattan fashion. Maxwell credits the strong Texas women in his life (his sister, mother, grandmother, stepmom and friends) and his best superstar client for much of his success. “We’re very free and open,” he says of longtime friend Gaga. “She’s helped me in my collection and also in my personal life to be much more open.”
Austin is also on his thank-you list. After his first attempt at living in NYC, he fled the Big Apple at age 20 to study his lifelong passion of photography at St. Edward’s University. “I met all of my best friends there, and we all live in New York together now,” says Maxwell, who returns often to his “favorite city in the world,” where he loves to eat at Maudie’s or walk around Lady Bird Lake.
Maxwell thrives on his 24/7 workaholic lifestyle, modeled after that of one of his biggest inspirations, designer Azzedine Alaïa. He also photographs and directs the videos for each collection. “It’s important to tell [the] story more literally through imagery and video that you don’t get to tell in your seven minutes on the runway,” he notes.
As for his upcoming nuptials, Maxwell for now is focusing instead on his sister’s own big day. He’s designing the dress, of course—putting Texas women first, always.