Prabal Gurung spent much of the time between his last runway show and this one out of office. He visited Kathmandu, Nepal, for a photo exhibition supported by his foundation; India for a lavish wedding at which he outfitted the bride and most of her party; and other places besides. The trips gave him his motif for Fall 2019: suitcases of the world. “All of us are more similar than we are different,” he said backstage.
His new collection picked up where his last left off. That one was a celebration of his roots, filtered through an athleticized New York lens. Here, Gurung left the sporty element by the wayside, preferring to set South Asian elements against crisp American sportswear a la Bill Blass, 7th Avenue star of the ’70s and ’80s. (Gurung worked for a time at the label after Blass’s retirement and before he launched his own line.) The juxtaposition came together most explicitly in a gray pinstriped blazer worn with hot pink brocade cargo pants woven in Varanasi, India—it was a more winning combination than it sounds.
More often, though, Gurung de-emphasized the New Yorkiness of his history in favor of the wider world. There was a terrific ikat print dress with sari draping; a whole series of pieces made from that colorful Varanasi brocade; and tulle and velvet party clothes alight with hand-painted metallic ombre illustrations of the Taj Mahal and various other South Asian landmarks. Grace Elizabeth’s sparkling halter top and trousers would be a kick to wear. Gurung added YSL and Lacroix-isms to the story, as well—they’re the two designers he idolizes after Blass—but those tended to mix his metaphor. This suitcase could’ve done with some judicious editing, but Gurung is on the right path.
Photos are courtesy of Filippo Fior / Gorunway.com