Prabal Gurung says his muse – that vision of a woman he designs for year after year – has gone a little stir crazy this season, and needs a break.
“I’ve been taking her out of the city and into the woods,” he said in an interview before his runway show Sunday evening, “because I think she wants to celebrate solitude, away from the noise. She’s a very curious, intrigued and intelligent woman, and this season she’s coming slightly undone. Nothing crazy, just a little tension.”
For Gurung, whose designs have become a huge red-carpet favorite for women-of-the-moment like Amy Schumer and Tina Fey, this “tension” resulted in a forest-themed collection with soft silhouettes and even softer materials, like the show’s opening look: a wool duffel coat in the color of “snow,” or white, with a white fox fur trim, worn over a braided silk blouse and a silk crepe skirt – all in the same white hue. Another inviting coat – certainly in these frigid February days in New York – was an oversized shearling and lambskin paneled coat, paired with ivory crepe trousers and a Nepalese cashmere cardigan, evoking Gurung’s home country.
Gurung, who’s been seen as one of fashion’s most creative minds ever since he launched his label in 2009, said he was inspired this year by Henri Rousseau’s painting “Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest,” along with Lord Byron’s poem, “She Walks in Beauty.”
Each outfit represented, he said, something his imaginary woman might see along her stroll in the forest: colors like sky blue, cherry, blackberry and pewter, and prints reflecting leaves. Hand-embroidered Guipure lace from Switzerland was employed to mimic tree branches. Despite a number of oversized garments, some of the nicest looks were sleek dresses in satin or soft leather.
Backstage, Gurung also spoke about how much he enjoyed dressing Schumer recently for the Golden Globes, in an elegant black-and-white gown that drew her praise.
“When I met Amy I could not stop laughing, she was just so witty,” he said. “She said, ‘I’ve never felt so beautiful.’ And you know, as a designer, to work one on one and … to make someone feel that great, I will always cherish it.”
Gurung also spoke about dressing Laverne Cox, the transgender actress of “Orange is the New Black,” who wore a filmy, one-shoulder Gurung gown in red recently to the SAG awards.
“I’ve just loved to celebrate women of different sizes, colors, sexual orientation, and gender, because I’ve always wanted to be inclusive,” he said. “I’m aware of the fact that I design at a price point that’s not available for everyone. However, whatever I put up there, I want to make sure that the message is very clear about inclusion.”