Brandon Maxwell's mom joins him for his NY Fashion Week bow

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NEW YORK (AP) Tears flowed at the New York Fashion Week show of Brandon Maxwell when his mom accompanied him on the runway for his bow.

Pam Woolley has had a rough go of it lately. She was diagnosed with breast cancer after her son's show last season. This time around, he dedicated the show to her and strong women everywhere.

"It really is sort of the physical manifestation of, I think, the strength that I saw her display over the past few months," Maxwell told The Associated Press, alluding to her health struggles.

The clothes also embodied the polished elegance he is known for, and a simplicity he needed in his life.

Maxwell is coming out of an especially busy time. He's a judge on the revived "Project Runway" in addition to a busy designer who has dressed Lady Gaga and Meghan Markle. His desire now is to "strip everything back."

His collection ranged from pantsuits with plunging necklines and caped sleeves to full-bodied skirts that sweep to the ground and cinch at the waist. He designed in black and white and monochrome for some looks.

A black sports bra with a keyhole was worn under a sleek black blazer trimmed with satin. There were cinched white coats worn over white skirts barely visible from underneath. Maxwell also showed black-and-white leopard print dresses with a subtle "B'' hidden in the pattern.

Bella Hadid walked in a satin white dress that zipped in the front to reveal a white turtleneck. Of the 35 looks, only six were in color.

Though Maxwell is relatively new to orchestrating fashion shows, having launched his ready-to-wear line in 2015, he says he's still come a long way.

"My very first show, I was hidden behind the door crying and I think I, at this time, I'd already had like six glasses of wine," said Maxwell. "Today I'm just here sipping a water and I was just eating a chicken wing, so I'm feeling good."

Karlie Kloss (a co-judge on "Project Runway"), Nicki Hilton Rothschild and Ashley Graham sat front row, and they're not his only famous fans.

Maxwell told the AP it's been an "unbelievable joy" to see other strong women, such as Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and First Lady Michelle Obama, wear his clothing, along with Lady Gaga.

"When I see those women. ... they're wearing the clothes to do good things for others," he said. "Any time I'm able to dress a woman like that and be part of her day, it's a blessed day for me."

As a long-time friend and past fashion director for Lady Gaga, Maxwell said he's enjoyed watching her during this awards season.

Lady Gaga won a Grammy Award on Sunday for best song written for visual media for "Shallow" from the movie "A Star is Born." She shares the award with Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt.

She is also nominated for the Oscars' best actress for her role in "A Star Is Born" and best original song for "Shallow."

"You wouldn't be standing here interviewing me tonight if it weren't for that friendship and someone who has so selflessly given me so much and rooted for me so much in my life and wanted the best for me," said the designer. "It's just a great joy. And she deserves it all."

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