Imaan Hammam walks the runway at Brandon Maxwell during New York Fashion Week on September 8, 2018 in New York City.
Photo: JP Yim (Getty Images)

Designer Brandon Maxwell has long been a believer in black girl magic—and equally, a proponent of good, old-fashioned glamour. There was no shortage of both on his Spring-Summer 2019 runway, as he sent a series of retro-inspired silhouettes down the runway at New York City’s Classic Car Club on Saturday afternoon.

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With nods to his native Texas via neck kerchiefs and the occasional cowboy boot, Maxwell’s latest collection channels the type of old school, big money glamour that has traditionally excluded women of color. Maxwell juxtaposes society doyenne-ready clothing with the melanated beauty of models Joan Smalls, Imaan Hammam, Dilone, Cindy Bruna and at least a dozen more models of color. In doing so, the designer makes a not-so-subtle statement that we are equally entitled to luxury.

Unlike some of the more literal statements made on the Spring-Summer ‘19 runways, Maxwell has become a master of speaking through his work, whether it be a series of mini-documentaries on his black model muses for his Spring-Summer ‘18 campaign, or inviting his predominantly female design team to join him on the runway for his Fall-Winter 2018-19 runway presentation (this season, that honor went to his grandmother). Consistently, Maxwell has equally and elegantly elevated all of his models, and while this collection may not have been groundbreaking, it was beautiful, for that reason alone.

Joan Smalls walks the runway at Brandon Maxwell during New York Fashion Week at Classic Car Club on September 8, 2018 in New York City.
Brandon Maxwell (L) and his grandmother Louise Johnson walk the runway at Brandon Maxwell during New York Fashion Week at Classic Car Club on September 8, 2018 in New York City.

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