I typically associate Brandon Maxwell with the sleek body-con gowns that put him on the map as a designer, so this show felt like more of a departure to me — less Brandon Maxwell, more T.J. Maxxwell. Then I looked it up, and behold:

Last season, Maxwell noted, speaking backstage before the show, he’d been reckoning with some personal hardships; this time around, as he began to brainstorm his new collection, he found himself brimming over with gratitude for the “loving community” that had shored him up during a hard time, and, in recompense, he found himself wanting to make garments they could relate to. This community included his fiancé, who had been requesting Brandon Maxwell menswear for a while, he said, and a troupe of girlfriends who wanted great-looking clothes for everyday life. ’Tis true that your average woman is more frequently in need of jeans than a broad-skirted ball gown.

First: aw. Be well, Brandon. Project Runway and its viewers need your sass and brass. Second: It’s very true, although I tend to think the forgotten factor in relatability is also price. We don’t need a broad-skirted ball gown, but we also don’t need $900 separates. Maybe T.J. Maxxwell SHOULD be a thing.

[Photos: Imaxtree]