In his five years on the runway, Brandon Maxwell has shown precisely one print, but his new collection, photographed by Venetia Scott on models Lara Stone and Jourdan Dunn, is full of them: leopard spots, zebra stripes, florals, butterflies, and polka dots. Since the pandemic began, fashion watchers have been contemplating how COVID would change designers’ output. For Maxwell, a native Texan, it precipitated a move back to Austin, where his sister was expecting her first child. “Nine days turned into five months,” he said, and the comforts of home—make that the very well-appointed home of an interior designer friend where he was hunkering down—seeped into his new designs.
Maxwell’s silhouettes remain as exacting and body-limning as ever, but the prints he commissioned from the interiors company Voutsa have an artful, hand-rendered look. The juxtaposition is particularly effective on the opening number: a long belted dress aswirl with green polka dots whose draped hourglass effect is achieved with a paint brush, not pinning and tucking. It’s a knock-out. On other looks, he combined patterns, pairing a black-on-cream leopard motif slip dress with a spotted coat in the reverse colorway, or splicing a wallpaper floral with those leopard spots for a fits-like-a-glove long-sleeved sheath. “I wanted the prints to do a lot of the work on most of the silhouettes,” he explained.