To passersby, a raucous crowd outside the upscale Chinese restaurant Mr. Chow at 9 p.m. on Monday night might have seemed out of place. And indeed it was, especially for a New York Fashion Week show, which was Brandon Maxwell's location of choice to unveil his debut collection, but the designer understands the power of making an impression—Maxwell is the man behind Lady Gaga's many looks.
The fashion herd flocked to the Upper East Side to see what this stylist-turned-designer had to say—one of them being Alexander Wang, who just celebrated his brand's 10th anniversary. "I know him through Gaga," Wang tells InStyle prior to the show. "But we've been close friends on our own. He's so much fun, so down-to-earth. I'm excited to see his creations."
Maxwell's offering was certainly something to see. His spring/summer 2016 collection began with a line-up of razor-sharp, femme fatale suits in a neutral color palette of black, ivory, and dusty rose that eventually gave way to sweeping ball gowns, with one dramatic number drawing enthusiastic claps from the crowd. "All I really wanted to achieve was the classic, timeless piece that a woman can spend a good amount of money on and that she will wear over time," the designer says. "That was my goal, and I hope we accomplished that."
And what was Lady Gaga's part in the process? "She's really the reason why I was able to do this," Maxwell says. "She's assured me through her own life work that anything is possible."
Naturally, Lady Gaga—his guest of honor, muse, and friend—was there to lend her support.
"I’ve been looking at this collection for a few months now and watching him pour his love and passion into it, his past, his present, and his future, and I have to say that I’m just completely speechless by how well executed this evening was," she says. "It was a special experience being here tonight and being a part of putting this show on with him and loving him as a friend."
What's more, Gaga plans to show off these looks soon. "I can wear them any time, all the time," she insists. "They're for the woman who likes to be dressed well and who likes to enjoy things that are made well, and these clothes are made perfectly, down to every inch of your body. You don’t have to worry when you zip it up that it won’t hug you in just the right way because he’s already decided the shape, and when you put it on, you become a part of that dress."
And judging by how stunning she was in her sleek Brandon Maxwell suit, we have no other choice but to believe her.