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Brandon Maxwell.

Fashion Week SS21: Brandon Maxwell, Tom Ford, Christian Cowan, and More

While fashion week as we know it may forever be changed, brands are still finding ways to introduce their latest seasonal collections—whether in person or online. Here, we’re sharing what’s new from Brandon Maxwell, Tom Ford, Christian Cowan, and more.

This year, Brandon Maxwell is celebrating five years as a label, presenting “The Anniversary Collection.” As an ode to his two muses—the women in his life he admires, and Texas—the designer re-worked classics in all denim. A bustier dress was paired with high stiletto boots, all reimagined in dark denim. For the anniversary, Maxwell also partnered with Austin-based embroidery studio Fort Lonesome for a line of patches.

Brandon Maxwell. Courtesy of Brandon Maxwell.

The designer’s careful eye for classics was packaged and presented in another capsule collection that followed, entitled “The Classics Collection II.” The line re-issues five looks from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2016 and Fall/Winter 2016 collections, providing those equally as nostalgic during this time with some coveted pieces from the past. To model these five looks—either all black or all white—was model Grace Elizabeth, photographed by Mark Seliger.

When Tom Ford dreamed of a Spring/Summer 2021 collection, the world was still in strict isolation due to COVID-19. In his collection notes, he mentions he was wearing the same jeans, jean shirt, tee-shirt, and trainers for weeks—a hard thing to imagine, although wildly relatable. While his stores and ateliers were closed, and his meetings were on Zoom, he understood that fashion seemed extravagant, unable to focus and feel inspired. “If you can’t go to the office, why do you need a new suit? If there is not a dinner or a party to go to, why would you need a new dress?” he said.

Tom Ford. Courtesy of Tom Ford.

The result was the desire to escape, fueled by the start of seeing a few friends in his backyard for dinner and old Hollywood films on TV. At night, he watched a documentary on fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez, and was touched by models like Pat Cleveland and Donna Jordon who carried fashion’s extravagance well. After months of seeing unkempt hair and no makeup on Zoom, Ford longed to see a full face of makeup; some joy to indulge in style. With hopes that things may change before springtime of next year, the designer presented an optimistic collection full of pieces that, as he said, one could “have a bit of fun in.” The pieces that followed were exactly that—animal print shirts under suits, complemented by orange-hued lenses in glasses and a crocodile cardholder and phone case hung around the neck; bright purple silk pants paired with a slim tank and a psychedelic PJ robe duster jacket; long skirts that swept the ground were carried by bright waves of color in purple, pink, and orange—matching the exact shades of makeup and nail polish; and accessories, like sunglasses and bags, carried the same colors into new styles and shapes.

Yesterday on the NYFW online portal, Christian Cowan debuted his unisex Spring/Summer 2021 collection. Created in collaboration with musician Lil Nas X, the ready-to-wear wonderment featured an array of other superstars that modeled new looks with creativity bursting from the seams. In images captured by Vijat Mohindra, we saw other models, athletes, entertainers and designers—like Heidi Klum, Marc Jacobs, Helena Christensen, Gus Kenworthy, Amanda Lepore, and Susanne Bartsch—dolled up and decked out in the latest line. The new pieces stemmed from Lil Nas X first wearing a sequined suit of Cowan’s to the 2019 VMA awards, and we see its influence in the pieces presented yesterday.

Tom Ford. Courtesy of Tom Ford.

Matching monochromatic suit sets are shiny and take on details from the ‘70s, like tuxedo lapels up top and high-waisted trousers down below—with Lil Nas X’s body and hair covered in the same glittery hue; a t-shirt featuring a graphic of a safety pin dangling the designer and musician’s names is paired with long leather gloves (seen on Jacobs with purple hair); straight-leg cropped pants take on a crocodile print and oversized gem embellishments; and more. For SS21, it’s clear that there’s a party by Cowan and his crew that can’t be missed. The new collection also took on an entirely philanthropic spin, with all proceeds from the collection benefitting the Loveland Foundation—an organization that supports the Black queer community in Atlanta.

PH5’s new collection is a new chapter for the designer Zoe Champion. Originally from Sydney, the traumatic wildfires that burned through her home country were traumatizing. For Spring/Summer 2021, she partnered with a group of Indigenous Australian women working with Firesticks Alliance—an organization aiming to protect, conserve, and enhance the values of people through cultural fire and land management practices.

Marc Jacobs, Christian Cowan Marc Jacobs for Christian Cowan, photo by Vijat Mohindra, courtesy of Christian Cowan.

The line was photographed on the Awabakal land, paying homage to the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their connection to the land, sea, and community. By hypothetically also extending a hand to other burning parts of the West Coast in the U.S., PH5 presented a collection that felt both natural and calm, yet alive and beautiful. A sleeveless tube-top dress ended in an asymmetrical wave cut; a square-cut neckline dress featured cinched tiered quarter-length sleeves; and hats and bags looked soft, soothing, and new-age. Floral patterns eased their way into the collection, dissolving delicately into a palette mostly made of light blue, light green, and orange.

Faith Connexion’s latest styles marked the first collaboratively pieces for newly appointed Co-Creative Directors Alexandre Betrand and Myriam Bensaid. The duo’s motto for the oncoming seasons revolve around the fighting spirit, figuratively seen through the lend of a modern Marie Antoinette wandering around Hugh Hefner’s Las Vegas outposts.

Lil Nas X, Christian Cowan Lil Nas X for Christian Cowan, photo by Vijat Mohindra, courtesy of Christian Cowan.

The wild and overtly sophisticated looks—like a purple leopard printed robe over a skirt with flounces of tiered silk, and embellished mini dresses and hoodies—brought spunk and a spirited sensation to a fanciful wardrobe. Images of the new collection were photographed by Julien Bernard on models Marie-Lou Golis and François Delacroix in what appeared to be a magical garden fit both for fun and leisure.


PH5 Courtesy of PH5.





Last month, during New York Fashion Week, Christian Cowan debuted his Fall/Winter 2024 collection.
We're looking at the best of New York Fashion Week, from fall/winter 2024 runway shows by LUAR, Puppets & Puppets, Concept Korea, Gabriela Hearst, Cucculelli Shaheen, and Brandon Maxwell. 


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