Gurung channels a Himalayan trek on his runway

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Prabal Gurung took the fashion world on a sensory mountain trek for his Spring 2015 collection, playing with lush, complex textures and the colors of the Himalayas.

Some of the garments at Gurung's runway show Saturday seemed to come straight from nature, like a strapless dress with a rhododendron print, ostrich feathers and hand-cut organza flowers on the skirt.

On the sportier side, there were mountain jackets and expedition vests; on the daintier side, there were silky ruffled dresses. As for colors, Gurung looked to evoke the changing Himalayan sky, from dawn to sunset.

"Up in the mountains are colors that you don't even know or see 'til you go up there," said Gurung, who was born and raised in Nepal, in a backstage interview. "It's this beautiful amethyst to this coral, ivory, white and then teal and turquoise, and this opal. It's a visual feast. I wanted to bring it here."

"It's a privilege to be able to be inspired by your journey, your trip, your memories and to turn it into the work that you love," he added.

Gurung has dressed a host of famous women, including first lady Michelle Obama, who's worn his designs a number of times, most recently last month at a White House dinner for African leaders. Kate Middleton also surprised the designer by wearing one of his dresses on an official trip to Asia.

Who does he picture wearing his current collection? "She's a global trekker," Gurung said. "She's continuing her journey further up in the Himalayas. It's a visual diary of what she sees, from the snow-capped mountains to the exuberant wildflowers, the mossy hills."

Attendees at Saturday's show may have been wanting to escape to some snow-capped mountains or mossy hills themselves. It was a steamy day in Manhattan, and the show was held in a cavernous space inside New York's main post office, with little ventilation. At least it was dark, though, a respite from the blazing sun outside.

Also notable in Gurung's new collection: His first complete footwear line under his own label. The multi-colored, strappy stilettos were inspired, he said, by artists he loves, including Georgia O'Keefe, Frida Kahlo, and Cindy Sherman.