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Prabal Gurung And The Thinking Man’s Sex Symbol

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Phoenix-like, Prabal Gurung has risen from the ashes of Bill Blass, and he’s ready to sell some clothes. At last night’s presentation, the designer was clearly riding high on the buzz that comes from spending quality time with important journalists and being amid a crowd of friends and supporters—particularly those like stylist Tina Laakkonen and casting director James Scully, who all pitched in to help. Blass, of course, closed earlier this year, but Gurung’s impressive and polished debut is clearly more than a few weeks in the making. “It’s for the thinking man’s sex symbol, not the starlet,” Gurung said of his imagined muse. “Zadie Smith, Arundhati Roy…if they went there a little.” The 19 looks—which swung between boyish cool and hard-edged elegance—had a detectable hint of Mssr. Saint Laurent, another designer who wardrobed the sexy, yet empowered set, and one whom Gurung calls his “guru.” They also were unabashedly luxe—embroideries done in India, feathers hand-sewn onto a cocktail frock, and a double-faced cashmere clocking in at $300 a yard, to name a few splurges. But Gurung has made an intentional effort to put economic gloom and doom out of mind. “I just want to do well-made, beautiful clothes,” said Gurung. Seems like a sound plan to us.

Photo: Kevin Sturman

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