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 paintbrush, 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.
Maxwell’s last-season foray into elevated sweats has fallen by the wayside. He may have cut his faux-fur coats with the cozy proportions of bathrobes, but these aren’t clothes for another season of shutdowns.
He even put an after-dark spin on cable knits, cutting both an ankle-grazing cape and a matching capelet and sarong set in the stuff. These are novel enough, but it’s the prints that look like the beginning of a new chapter.
He confirmed that he’s likely to show more of them for spring and that he’s hoping to be back on the runway in September.