Is Maximilian Davis fed up with being called sexy? No review since the designer made his Fashion East debut last year has not, at least in some way, alluded to the libidinous nature of Davis’s creations. And while that’s true – his signature pieces span second skin bodysuits, plunging necklines, and slashed bodycons – lust, in the Maximilian universe, is always tempered with restraint.
The past two Maximilian collections have mediated these two things – including mini shorts obscured beneath tuxedo jackets and aristocratic cravats transformed into halter tops. “I want to show that Black elegance is a thing,” Davis told Dazed back in October. “I feel like we’ve always been seen in a one-dimensional way, and I really wanted to make something that showed people of colour and Black people in a different light.”
This elegance is a motif that runs through Davis’s work, drawing heavily on his late grandmother’s Trinidadian heritage and her ‘Sunday best’ looks. He’s also taken inspiration from the Island’s famous annual Carnival – see Naomi and Rihanna’s ostrich feather headdresses – which he first referenced in his SS21 debut, and which he is keen to return to. “I would love to create a film that goes back to the roots of that collection,” he says. ”It would be shot on location in Trinidad and would explore carnival, sex and music”.
Text Daniel Rodgers