Great Outfits in Fashion History: Jane Fonda in Brandon Maxwell

Jane Fonda 2018 Book Club Premiere Brandon Maxwell

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In ‘Great Outfits in Fashion History,’ Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

There are many, many things to applaud Jane Fonda for: her activism, her candor, how she’s consistently shown up and advocated for different communities, her many, many iconic roles… Today, though, for the purposes of this series, I’m focusing on her style — specifically, on her power suiting. More specifically still, the Brandon Maxwell suit she wore to the 2018 premiere of “Book Club,” a movie that made me cry when I watched it on a plane. (It happens.) 

Fonda has shown a preference for bold colors and sleek cuts on the red carpet over the years, so this tailored look fits her track record. The top and blazer were plucked from Brandon Maxwell’s Spring 2018 runway — Look 2, worn by Bella Hadid, to be precise. Instead of wearing them with jeans, though (as the designer proposed at his New York Fashion Week show), the actor, styled by Tanya Gill, turned it into a full suit with red trousers that matched the jacket. She accessorized with a pink Salvatore Ferragamo clutch, pointed-toe Sarah Flint heels and Vhernier jewelry. The result is punchy and sleek and incredibly fabulous.

Feeling inspired by Fonda? (I mean, who isn’t?) Recreate her look with some of the pieces in the gallery, below.

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Brandon Maxwell’s mom shares sweet stories of the fashion designer’s childhood

Brandon Maxwell is the genius behind iconic looks of famous celebrities like Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey and Meghan Markle, but to his mom, Pamela Woolley, he’s still the little boy who grew up giving her fashion advice.

Woolley sat down with TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones for our “Through Mom’s Eyes” series to talk about watching her son’s career take off.

“I made the mistake of storing my nice dresses in a closet next to his bedroom,” Woolley said with a laugh. “He would take my dresses and redesign them and make them into whatever. … I’m telling you, he was always critiquing what I was wearing. And believe me, I was asking ‘Do these earrings look nice?'”

Brandon Maxwell, Pam Woolley (Courtesy Pam Woolley)
Brandon Maxwell, Pam Woolley (Courtesy Pam Woolley)

Woolley, who lives in Texas, said that the chaos of having so many children (Maxwell is the oldest of four) meant she often leaned on family for help. Her mother worked at a local boutique, and Maxwell spent plenty of time in the shop growing up.

“His school was literally around the corner from where my mom worked,” Woolley said. “It was one of those stores where you can call and say, ‘Hey, I need this outfit for this event,’ and you walked in and she had a rack full. She had the outfit, she had the shoes, she had the earrings, she had the purses. You walked in, you got what you need, you left. And I think a lot of that love for what he does, designing clothes, came from that, watching my mom.”

Woolley said that while Maxwell was surrounded by a supportive family growing up, he also battled insecurity.

“I think he questioned himself a lot,” she said. “But … he has said several times: ‘Lean into who you are.’ And he was always leaning, he was always moving in that direction, he was true to himself.”

As a parent, she felt her most important job was to encourage her kids.

“You just reassure them, and you’re positive,” she said. “I always had the faith and belief in him, and I think he had it down. Of course, he had it in himself. You just have to remind him it’s there, because it’s always been there. You know as a parent what your child’s gifts are.”

Years later, Maxwell returned that support when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Woolley told Sheinelle that all of her children surrounded her with “love and support.” During New York Fashion Week 2019, Maxwell even dedicated his line to Woolley and the pair walked down the runway together.

“You have no idea,” Woolley said of the emotions of that day. “His whole life flashed (in my mind) while we were walking down that runway. I was thinking of the day he was born and all the things we’ve been through, and I couldn’t believe that he made his dreams come true. Just, my son was doing what he’s meant to do … thank goodness

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