Arriving backstage just one hour before the call time for Brandon Maxwell’s SS20 New York Fashion Week runway show was not the rush I expected. The mood was thankfully calm and playful as opposed to chaotic and stressed, which is what NYFW can typically deliver. Fashion designer and Bravo’s Project Runway judge Brandon Maxwell stood in front of his crop of supermodels before their last walk-through, and gave a passionate pep talk. Maxwell urged his models to have fun and enjoy their moment. Their moment. His humble and gracious attitude was clear to every single model, hair stylist, makeup artist, and manicurist.
Founder and creative director of Deborah Lippmann, Deborah Lippmann herself, gushed backstage about Maxwell, who she’s known since his early days working as an assistant to a stylist. “I’m so excited and so proud to be a part of someone’s journey. I’ve seen him grow and seen how he’s evolved. He’s so grateful for everyone who has been there. He knows who has been there and he’s loyal,” Lippmann says of Maxwell. The nail guru adds, “He’s so genuine and he works so hard…and the clothes are to die for.”
The inspiration for the manicures was Americana grace, with a simple and clean aesthetic. “We spent an hour and ten minutes deciding on the nail and it is a sheer pink,” Lippmann says with a laugh. “It’s always surprising how much back and forth there can be with a sheer nail.” The shade chosen was Love At First Sight, a blush pink that would offer a flush and feminine look when applied with one coat.
“In the early days of Brandon, we did nails on the stairs. We wouldn’t have room so we would have manicurists up and down the stairs doing nails,” Lippmann says, reminiscing on Maxwell’s early days. There are no manicurists huddled in the stairwell backstage of the designer’s SS20 runway show.
As models Bella Hadid, Stella Maxwell, and Candice Swanepoel arrive for touch-ups, the energy turns up and it’s nearly show time. With playful dresses, sexy suits, and Maxwell’s first-ever men’s collection, the catwalk was vibrant, ending with celebratory confetti.
See below for the complete list of Deborah Lippmann products used:
Love At First Sight Gel Lab Pro Color ($20)
Gel Lab Pro Base & Top Coat ($45;set)
The Wait Is Over Quick Dry Drops ($20)
Smooth Operator ($14)
Cuticle Remover ($20)
The Cure ($24)
Rich Girl SPF 25 Hand Cream ($28)