Brandon Maxwell has had a very busy week. On Monday, he was awarded the Swarovski womenswear prize at the CFDA Fashion Awards. Then, two nights later, he was whisking along the red carpet of the New York amfAR Inspiration Gala — his first one — which honored his CFDA date Naomi Campbell. (She was the “Inspiration” in Inspiration Gala.) And his mom is in town.
“She had a cheeseburger ready,” he said of his post-CFDA celebrations. So he’s holding up. Plus, he and Naomi go way back — she was, and remains, close friends with his first boss (W’s own Edward Enninful), and she modeled for the first editorial shoot Maxwell ever worked on.
“I just remember I walked in and she was so perfectly moisturized, head to toe,” he recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s a supermodel.’”
Inside, he sat front row of the amfAR men’s show, whispering conspiratorially with former Lady Gaga stylist Nicola Formichetti (Maxwell has since taken over that role). On the runway, looks by everyone from Carven to Dsquared2, Givenchy to Marc Jacobs trotted around Skylight at Moynihan Station, the massive warehouse space where the gala took place. It seemed that the “jet set” theme had been interpreted in the form of oversized baggage and backpacks, though one model fully carried a surfboard under his arm as he made his lap. The crowd whooped as another strutted out in a wetsuit; pretty boys in tight clothing were a fan favorite.
The show started right on schedule at 8 p.m., but outside, the Brant brothers were only just arriving. Kelly Osborne caused a ruckus among the paparazzi on the streets when she showed up with an oversized Louis Vuitton carrier (reminiscent of those that traveled down the runway moments later) that held her dog. (The dog didn’t make it inside, though Osborne was later spotted draped over the lap of model Jordan Barrett.)
But some were already eager for the end of the program: “I’m looking forward to Jason Derulo at the end of the night,” said designer Kenneth Cole, chairman of the board of amfAR. Cole was the one guy in the room who, arguably, had a bigger week than Maxwell. He, too, attended the CFDA awards, with Derulo as his date; the following day, the United Nations designated him Goodwill Ambassador; and now here he was, hosting the second-biggest gala his charity puts on (after, of course, Cannes — a “magical place,” Cole said).
Former One Direction-er Zayn Malik stopped in briefly to introduce Louis Vuitton menswear designer Kim Jones, the night’s other honoree. He stumbled over the word “innovative,” struggling through it three times before abandoning the effort — “I’m not speaking very well tonight,” he explained to the crowd. “I’ve had a few too many.” Television personality Wendy Williams toasted Campbell, listing her professional credits — more than 500 magazine covers and countless editorial credits, in addition to her humanitarian work — before declaring, “I’m out of breath.” A soft-spoken Campbell then took the stage to accept the award.
Then, the main event: With that trademark, sing-song way he chants his own name, Jason Derulo stepped out onto the stage, flanked by a couple of hype boys. Midway through his brief set, he introduced himself — “I go by the name of Jason Derulo,” he said, as if anyone could have missed it introducing each of his tracks.
Waiters drifted out with dessert, weaving their way through the dancing crowd and mouthing the words as Derulo finished his set with “Want To Want Me.” By that time, the meal was over and it was time to go home — but a few guests made sure to stop for selfies in front of the Moët vending machine dispensing personal-sized bottles of bubbly on their way out.