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April 19 2014

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Prabal Gurung: “The Vision Gets Clearer Every Season”

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The Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation awards, announced this morning, gave seven lucky designers a cool $25,000 to put toward their Fall 2010 shows. Among them: our pal Prabal Gurung (pictured, a look from his standout Spring 2010 show, on which the win was judged). We caught up with the Nepal-born designer for a few words on his runway debut, his red-carpet fans, and a few starlets (sadly unnamed!) who don’t quite measure up to the PG standards.

Congrats, Prabal, on your award. What can we expect from the Fall 2010 collection?

It’s like I always say: From one season to the next, it’s an evolution, not a revolution. Whatever I do in one season, I can do better, and I want to get to a point where it reaches perfection. The vision gets clearer and clearer every season. But it’s going to be the same idea: beautiful fabrics, lots of draping and tailoring, an old-school way of making clothes done in a modern way. But it’s my first runway show and it’s definitely going to have a little bit of attitude.

Did you approach the runway differently from how you would a presentation?

Absolutely. The inspiration itself lent itself to movement and speed and lots of motion; the collection itself demanded it. It’s more three-dimensional now: the front view, the back view, side view, turning around. You start to think about the production value, the lighting, the seating, the runway, music. It’s a huge production—which I personally love; it’s almost like you’re directing a movie.

You’ve made some pretty high-profile fans over the past year, from Maggie Betts and Lauren Santo Domingo to Demi Moore and Oprah. How’d that change things for you?

Professionally, all the calls I’d been making, all the appointments…people are picking up those calls now. We went from five doors to 17, and we’ve got amazing stores now. People say, Oh, it’s just press, press doesn’t result in sales. For me, it has. Personally, it’s something I’ve always dreamt about. I’m from Nepal, and when I came to New York to study fashion, a lot of people said to me, it’s a good hobby, but what are you going to do? In a Third World country, fashion is not a thing to do for a guy. But my family has been extremely supportive of my decision, and now everyone else has shown support for me, too. With all these achievements, I’m aware that people believe in me and I can’t let them down. It’s a responsibility, but it’s calming, too. I’m more centered than ever.

Awards season is upon us. Anyone you’ll be dressing for the red carpets this year?

We are working on some stuff, but until they come out on the red carpet and I see it on Style.com, I don’t believe it. I can’t talk about it until it happens. My goal is: I’m not trying to be snobby, but my clothes are not for everyone, not for every Hollywood celebrity. There is a designer for everyone, and a celebrity for every designer. I’m careful. The person who wears it should embody what this girl is all about. It’s not about age, it’s about an attitude.

So you’ve had to turn a starlet or two away? That must’ve been awkward.

Luckily for me, I have Caitlin, my press director [laughs]. We are always very graceful about it. I tell these girls, Go online and look through my books, I don’t think you’ll like any of this! Girls who wear certain kind of dresses, who show certain areas of the body, are not going to like my clothes. You can’t please everyone. So we turn away in the most polite way. I don’t want to come across as rude; I think it’s very ungraceful.

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  1. navare says:

    I think this is so wonderfully generous for The Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation to give money to help new designers. I always have a secret hope that this will happen to me as well, with my jewelry business. It is so tough to make it in the world of creativity and design! I wonder, are there any investor-type of strings attached to this money?www.navare.etsy.com

  2. kalonity says:

    Prabal Gurung designs beautifully and I’ve loved his spring collection- congrats! What a sweet opportunity.