All were on hand at the Russian Tea Room on Tuesday night as his models walked, sitting beneath huge chandeliers amid the red and gold decor while Maxwell, as he said later, “sat in the back in a corner by myself and just hoped it would go well.”
It’s what he does, he said, calling himself “not a naturally confident person.” But if anything can turn that around, it’s the year he’s had.
Maxwell dressed first lady Michelle Obama twice, putting her in a strapless ivory gown in August for the White House state dinner for the prime minister of Singapore, and in a sculptural dark teal just a few days ago for the October cover of InStyle magazine.
Both, he said in a post-show interview, felt “fantastic.”
“I feel very grateful for that,” he said.
It was quite a feat for a young designer like himself. The Texas native launched his company just last year after working as a stylist for Gaga, earning a prestigious award for emerging talent in June from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
He has dressed other celebrities as well and remains Gaga’s fashion director. And his dad still runs his business.
For fashion week, Maxwell stuck close to his core aesthetic, with folded and piped bodices that curved and hugged, a cape-back jumpsuit, pleated trousers and deep V necks and halters in satin and other elegant fabrics. Some of his tops were cropped and tiny while other looks offered plenty of coverage.
There were blacks, whites and looks in a greenish taupe. While Maxwell considers his target customer young, like the models he hired — and whom he urged to stay loose and have fun during the show — there were looks that could work on older women as well. His 60-year-old mom, Pam Woolley, wore a black outfit with big bell cuffs that fit her perfectly.
Gaga also wore Maxwell — teeny tight black shorts with a matching crop top, showing off her long blonde high ponytail as she sipped Champagne in black-rimmed nerd glasses and later stood and clapped from the front row when Maxwell came out for his bow.
“I have such great friends and family,” Maxwell said. When he decided to become a designer himself and build a business, “they really got on board and fully supported me.”
Take his dad’s help, for instance.
“When it comes to the business, I know that any choices he makes he’s making as my dad,” he said. “Sometimes in a world where you can’t trust a lot of people, you know, especially as your life is changing, I’m really so blessed to have that.”