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An encounter with Brandon Maxwell, Lady Gaga’s stylist and finalist for the 2016 LVMH Prize

 

Nicola Formichetti’s former assistant, a self-taught designer, stylist and Lady Gaga’s best friend, Texan Brandon Maxwell is one of the eight finalists for the LVMH Prize 2016. We met up with this astonishing designer.

Brandon Maxwell by Inez & Vinoodh.

 

Numéro: You’re Lady Gaga’s personal stylist and one of her closest friends. Has she influenced your vision of fashion?

Brandon Maxwell: Lady Gaga has an enormous influence on me. She’s taught me how to be open-minded and not scared. Dressing her for the stage has also taught me so much because her clothes have to be comfortable so she can dance and move freely. It’s a lesson I’ve held onto since launching my own womenswear collections in April 2015.

 

You’ve also assisted Nicola Formichetti, at a time when he himself was Lady Gaga’s stylist, what did you learn from him?

Nicola is a gentle and inspiring person. And he’s had so many different careers! Thanks to him I understood that you can renew yourself constantly in life.

Brandon Maxwell spring-summer 2016 by Angela Pham/BFA NYC

 

Your fall-winter 2016 collection is both classic in terms of colours, and daring in terms of cut, with some seriously sculptural shoulders. How would you describe your style?

My main intention is always to highlight the beauty of women. I build collections silhouette by silhouette, by draping directly onto the body of my fittings model. I’m very much part of the tailoring tradition, it’s all about the architecture of the garment. I want my pieces to be perfect timeless classics, adaptable to all seasons.

 

What’s changed since your first ever runway show for spring-summer 2016?

Our sales are growing strongly; we’re present in many more boutiques. Today I have a real clientele. I am so happy about that, and it’s profoundly affected my creative process: now I design for the women I meet in our stores. I think about building their wardrobes and satisfying their desires.   

 

Unlike the other young designers vying for the LVMH prize, you were already known to the public as Lady Gaga’s stylist and friend. What’s so important about this competition?

I’ve been very successful as a stylist, but nothing guarantees I’ll have the same success as a designer. The LVMH prize is thus of crucial importance to me, and I am so proud to be one of the finalists. Being able to show your work to industry leaders like this is a fabulous opportunity. It’s also a chance for my mother, who’s never been to Paris, to come and vacation in the city for the first time, and even come to the awards ceremony. If I win I would be able to create two key positions in my company, in the design domain and in production monitoring. My goal has always been to launch a real American luxury brand that will outlive me.

 

www.brandonmaxwellstudio.com

 

Interview by Delphine Roche.

 

 

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