For SS ’21, Brandon Maxwell Is Bringing Sexy (Basics) Back

by Freya Drohan

It’s hard to believe that it’s ten months since Brandon Maxwell’s buzzy outing to the Museum of Natural History during the NYFW calendar in February. Rather than show during the (far less buzzy) September schedule, the designer opted to take the time to hone in on his offering for Spring Summer ’21—and refocus his brand identity in the process. The pared-back result of sexy and sleek but ladylike staples was a reminder to all why he has gone from strength to strength in just five short years.

Maxwell called the time to reflect “challenging, cleansing, and clarifying”. He said it ultimately served as a welcome opportunity to revisit his very first days of design (…you know, before his fans included First Ladies and A listers and he held a CFDA award to his name.) He added: “The quiet times away from my studio left me no other choice than to go back to the basics and return to making things on a smaller scale, with a more intimate group, and for the sole purpose of doing so because I felt it deep in my heart.”

Without much notice to editors, the designer announced he would reveal his wares via a high-production digital runway show, which he rolled out on Sunday night on Instagram and YouTube. I think, at this stage of the year, everyone can agree that virtual shows have been more than a little underwhelming. But with the emotive music selection of Moby singing ‘This Wild Darkness’ followed by the uplifting sounds of Lady Gaga’s ‘Free Woman’, it was an effective way to convey how Maxwell and his team got through a sombre time with hope, promise, and a healthy helping of infectious pop music at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking of pop, punchy neon colors jumped out against muted tones of grays and shell pinks, while juxtaposing fabrics made the outfits feel fresh and new. As Maxwell is wont to do, this collection was all about the ease of dressing up: arresting and daring sportswear-inspired silhouettes, mixed in with the quintessential staples every wardrobe needs. In other words, a uniform for all his beloved free women.

See the full collection below:

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