Prabal Gurung is the thinking woman’s designer
The strong streak of feminism in Nepalese couturier Prabal Gurung’s creations has attracted some of the world’s strongest women, including Michelle Obama and Britain’s future queen
You might expect a certain amount of altitude sickness from a man who’s scaled the highest echelons of the world of fashion, with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, among many others, on his client list. Especially since that man arrived from out of almost nowhere: just another designer from the subcontinent trying his luck in New York.
If you imagine there’s a touch of arrogance in these words, you’re wrong. Gurung is as grounded today as he ever was: you can tell this right away when you first meet him – while exchanging pleasantries he comments, “You know, I really miss the time when ‘how are you?’ was a genuine question, not a statement.’
Perhaps his client list would not have been quite as strong as it is, in all senses of the word, had Gurung not turned his deepest convictions about women and the world into his creative inspiration.
Gurung’s feminist convictions may stem from his ‘gay designer’ experiences – one kind of underdog standing in solidarity with another. While Nepal is certainly more gay-friendly than India, even permitting gay marriages, society as a whole is still homophobic, he points out.
Although he was born in Singapore and shifted to Nepal as a child, Prabal Gurung is a self-proclaimed Bollywood buff. “It was a world unlike anything that was happening around me. But at the same time, it looked so real! I always thought I would have 60 dancers behind me when I wooed someone, or there would be violins and maple leaves when I fall in love,” laughs Gurung.