After taking a season off from showing, Prabal Gurung was back with a Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter 2021 collection inspired by New York City from the ground up.
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While millions of people moved out of New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic, Prabal Gurung stayed and took mental notes of his participation in the city’s historical chapter. He attended Black Lives Matter protests, the Brooklyn Liberation march, peaceful demonstrations by the historic Stonewall Inn where the gay rights movement was born and saw people in their vintage finery vogueing at Chelsea Piers or in Washington Square Park.
‘’I realized New York is a city because of its people’’, he said of the experience of soaking it all in. ‘’It made me remember why I moved here from Nepal 20 years ago. To see communities coming together even during the pandemic, the restaurants spilling over into the streets…and nobody was wearing sweats, everyone was kinda dressing up. Dressing up went from becoming a chore to becoming a choice’’.
Gurung channeled that renewed fascination with his adopted hometown into his designs, a riot of bright pinks and reds mixed with bold polka dots (a nod to those well-dressed voguers) and moody florals (inspired by the humble bodega bouquets he saw at demonstrations all summer). Bodega flowers are, as Gurung puts it in a letter penned to his Instagram followers on Friday, February 12, ‘’too often overlooked’’. They’re a motif rich in symbolism and meaning, imbued in the city’s rich history. It is, in ‘’The Pre-Fall/Fall 2021 collection is my continued love letter to New York. It conveys the resilience, grit, passion, and complicated devotion of New Yorkers. It is the story of my rekindled love affair with the city, set against the backdrop of a powerful summer that awakened my soul and raised my consciousness. A dark and unrelenting romance, the collection is a sonnet to the city that continues to capture my heart and our community, which found hope and humanity even in the most difficult times’’, said Prabal Gurung.
The designer incorporated the bodega flower theme into his collection with a striking lineup of statement-making silhouettes in pink and red: Bridgerton-approved corsets, mega-flared ombré trousers, and floral ruched minidresses with statement sleeves.
‘’Bodega beauties took on a special meaning this summer. During a heartbreaking and tumultuous period, they filled us with hope and joy in the moments we needed them most. In Nepal and India, the colours pink and red represent an auspicious beginning. An apt colour story imbued with the moody darkness of New York city; the collection is a collision force of matriarchal energy and rebellion’’, stated Gurung.
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- Tianna St. Louis by Eddie Wrey for Vogue France November 2021 & British Vogue December 2021