NEW YORK – Prabal Gurung blended his love for his adopted city of New York and his homeland of Nepal in a Fashion Week show featuring psychedelic flower prints imbued with a New York edginess.
Gurung left behind the more political themes of some past collections for a dreamy travel vibe in Wednesday's show at Spring Studios in downtown Manhattan. The designer married dip-dyed prints and textiles from Nepal with a New York sensibility: plunging silky tops, form fitting mid-length dresses, and thigh-high boots.
“It’s a New York love song to Nepal,” Gurung said in an interview before the show. “It’s a celebration of women here and there.” The designer, who was born in Singapore and raised in Nepal, said in show notes that because of the pandemic, it had been several long years since he'd been to his homeland.
“For my motherland is like an insatiable craving, but I still visit her in my daydreams, childhood memories and treasured photo albums," he said. He noted that “the beauty of my motherland is often glossed over, and with it, her women overlooked. So here I seek to tell the visual tale of the radiant, celestial and glorious women that define the nation.”
The designs moved from a palette of jewel tones to pops of bright color. Gurung said he imagined “Nepali village women ... re-envisioned in a cosmopolitan New York setting full of impossible dreamers.”
A common thread was the strappy cutout details at the front and back of his designs — reminiscent of outfits that have become popular among Gen Zers. But for Gurung the strappy looks held a more sentimental attachment, the cutouts a play on the traditional blouses worn by Nepali women.
While Gurung’s collection featured some edgy styles, he showed his playful side by highlighting his country’s national flower, the rhododendron. In Nepal, Gurung, said the fuchsia flowers blanket the mountains, offering an almost intoxicating experience when hiking.
Gurung said this season he wanted to inspire his audience to dream and to travel — especially now, after two years of the pandemic.
“I always walk the fine line between hope and pragmatism,” he said.