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Designer Brandon Maxwell Doesn’t Have the Summertime Blues (But You Wouldn’t Blame Him If He Did)

Brandon Maxwell took the road less traveled to designer fame: He earned a degree in photography in 2008 then used it to assist stylist Deborah Afshani before moving on to work with the nearly incomparable fashion authorities Edward Enninful and Nicola Formichetti. Then he set up his own personal-styling practice, acquiring clients like—boom!—Lady Gaga.


Brandon Maxwell



Looks from Brandon Maxwell’s spring-summer 2016 collection. All images courtesy Brandon Maxwell.

From there his transition from arbiter to designer was seemingly, well, seamless. Although we all know that anyone who appears to be an overnight success invariably has lots of stories about struggle, waiting games, and hard, hard work.

Suffice it to say that Brandon Maxwell is on the fast track, and we’re thrilled to count his among our designer collections. In an effort to get to know this hot young talent, we chatted via email about how his summer is going.

Traditionally, at least, August has signaled a universal summer break. It used to be that all of Manhattan would essentially close up shop. Those days are probably gone, but we’re hoping you and your crew will get to take a little break next month—at least clock out early on Fridays, or maybe do a couple of fun group happy hours?

I would love to give a really fun answer to this question, but the truth is that we really work through August. Fortunately, our office is very much a family so it never feels like work, and someone is always laughing. We usually have dinner together every night, so that feels like a happy hour! We all love to work, and we have a lot of fun while we do it.

What specific projects are keeping you tethered to your desk?

Because I balance multiple jobs and usually have awards-show season at the same time, or immediately following our show in September, it’s crucial that we’re prepared in August before the show, so that I can have my hand in everything. We typically start fitting the runway looks in mid-August.


From Maxwell’s second collection, which WWD called a “fresh, swanky” new take on eveningwear. 

Please at least tell us you got a vacation earlier this summer?

I just got back from my summer vacations! First, I went to St. Barts with my best friends, which was so fun and relaxing—except for the flight in to the small airport, which was one of the scariest of my life. We did nothing but lie on the beach and talk to each other. With such busy schedules, it was so nice to do that for a few days and spend quality time.

Then I took my mom to Europe for the first time, and she loved it! We went to Paris, Florence and Venice. We started in Paris for the LVMH Prize, which I was nominated for, so she had a very full and fun experience there—she got to meet Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld! After that we just walked everywhere, took so many pictures, and ate and drank pretty much everything. My grandmother is full Italian, and my mom was so excited to see where her family is from and to see if the food lived up to her expectations—and it did!


Backstage at Brandon Maxwell’s spring-summer 2016 collection

What’s the ideal summer vacation? Where would you love to go?

One day in the near future I would love to just go on a boat by myself for a week with a book and do absolutely nothing. I don’t care if it’s in Europe or the Hudson river, I just want to do it once!

What’s the summer anthem around your office? Is there a particular song that’s marking the season?

We’re listening to a lot of old TLC right now, “Diggin’ on You” in particular. I love that song so much.

Where do folks go for summer lunch in your office neighborhood? Tell us about your favorite spots around town, too. 

We’ve just moved into a new office in Manhattan, and it’s right above a diner called Burger Heaven, so currently that’s my favorite place to visit. It’s a really dangerous mix. Everyone knows I love love love food more than anything, so as we were looking for new offices and we saw the place above a burger joint, I knew it was meant to be.

My favorite places in the city are my house (I’m a major homebody), Washington Square dog run to take my dog, Stella, out to play, and the Reservoir in Central Park. I don’t get the time much any more, but I do my best thinking running around the Reservoir early in the morning or at sunset, and I love the views.

Best movie of the summer: 

It’s not out yet, but I think I’m going to love Ghostbusters. I only really watch comedies, and I love all of those ladies.

Best summer music festival: 

I’m from Texas and went to college in Austin, so I think the Austin City Limits Festival is a must-visit.


Those curves! Those lines! Brandon Maxwell’s spring-summer 2016 collection.

Best summer cocktail:


Best way to escape the heat: 

Stand out in front of Bed Bath & Beyond on Sixth Avenue and feel the crisp, cold air coming out of the revolving doors. Not kidding.

Best nearby beach or park: 

Central Park, always.


 EXPLORE: Brandon Maxwell | all designer collections

—Laura Cassidy