Prabal Gurung’s Feminist Front Row

Published September 12, 2011

 

PRABAL GURUNG AND NICKI MINAJ. PHOTO COURTESY OF KELSEY BENNETT

 

 

Nicki Minaj and Amanda Seyfried watched from the front row as Prabal Gurung sent a stunning collection of surreal-print dresses down the runway at IAC in Chelsea this weekend. Minaj, fresh off her MTV VMA win for Best Hip-Hop video, said, “I’m getting a taste of Prabal for the first time today; I’m so excited. I just met him and he is sexy! I love his clothes’ chic look, and they’re colorful, which is everything that I like.” Minaj described her own iconoclastic style as “anything that looks crazy, kooky, funky, and weird; that’s Nicki Minaj.” Seyfried, whose sci-fi thriller with Justin Timberlake, In Time, is due out next month, described her own style as “comfortable” and called Gurung’s show “so exciting.”

Gurung’s rise has elevated to warp-speed overdrive this year; he delivered the keynote address at Parson’s benefit in May, won CFDA’s Swarovski Award For Womenswear in June, and debuted his first resort collection in July.  Zoe Saldana and Diane Kruger were photographed wearing Gurung in August, fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker wore Gurung dresses four days last week (including to Letterman and FNO), and First Lady Michelle Obama wore Gurung last night to “A Concert For Hope,” marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

For his spring 2012 collection, Gurung perfectly juxtaposed silk dresses in modern white and black with soft violet and turquoise prints, brilliantly structured with tulle inserts. Backstage, Gurung told us that his striking-yet-feminine aesthetic was inspired by the Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki. “His series of works, ‘Essential Flowers,’ is a play between what is really out there, obvious to the normal person, and reading between the layers and layers of it. The beauty of his work is the feminist slant, which is what I’m always inspired by, with any artist. I love the idea of women being empowered; intelligent women. His work is done in a very subversive way, but it’s incredibly inspiring.”

Sitting directly across the sun-splashed runway from Minaj and Seyfried were Vogue editors André Leon Talley, Hamish Bowles and Grace Coddington. Talley told us that “it was a fantastic show.  I thought it was one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen from this gentleman.  I loved everything about it.”  Bowles said that his favorite look was “the long white gown with the tulle and flutter sleeves.”

After the show, Gurung was humble. “Whether it’s a celebrity or any girl who makes a decision to wear it, in spite of having so many choices out there, the very fact that she chose mine—I’m eternally grateful. I never take it for granted because I still remember as a kid, a young student, that feeling of one day hopefully someone will like it.  To find an audience of that magnitude is incredibly gratifying.”