Digital fashion fatigue is real; with few exceptions, the endless churn of collection films and virtual shows this year had the effect of watching paint dry, with many designers giving the impression of taking themselves too seriously rather than having fun with fashion.

The best showcases were undeniably those that had a personal bent, as Brandon Maxwell demonstrated in his heartwarming Spring 2021 video last night. (Friends of the brand were sent burgers from Shake Shack to enjoy while watching the show from home.)

Reminding us why there's nothing like the energy, craziness and emotions of a live fashion show, Maxwell had cameras backstage capturing models, makeup artists and publicists scurrying around before the runway started — much like how the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show would depict in its heyday.

"My favorite thing about the runway is just the vibe," said one model. "You go out and you just feel so beautiful and powerful and that's what it's all about. The audience always uplifts you. The presence of the audience is definitely missing but the powerful vibe is still there for sure."

Speaking of emotions, the collection signaled a profound journey for Maxwell as well, with the first half of models walking out in subdued and understated hues (though still gloriously cut and streamlined) before the colors got brighter and happier. The feeling was amplified through the choice of soundtrack, with Moby's tranquil "This Wild Darkness" song transitioning to Lady Gaga's upbeat "Free Woman" complete with wind effects and fabulous strobe lights.

"The collection reflects the emotional and creative journey my team and i have been on during this time," Maxwell said in a statement. "It's a representation of our path from dark to light. We are grateful to be joining you now with a renewed purpose and reality."

Photos courtesy of Brandon Maxwell

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