Prabal Gurung‘s Fall/Winter 2024 collection was a poignant journey into the designer’s soul. Infused with personal loss and fueled by introspection, the garments transcended mere trends, offering a glimpse into the depths of human emotion.
The show opened with a bold statement: head-to-toe red, a potent blend of East and West aesthetics. It was a deeply personal exploration of Gurung’s heritage. The flowing dress over a turtleneck and pants resonated with both sportswear practicality and sari-like draping, a nod to his Nepalese roots and a powerful symbol of cultural fusion.
The band shape, recurring throughout the collection, served as a visual representation of fragmented memories. It morphed from shoulder adornments to furry trims, appearing on a striking two-tone minidress and even transforming into a floaty dress in the finale. The deliberate unraveling of these bands served as a powerful metaphor for processing grief, a theme woven into the very fabric of the collection.
Friendship, a source of solace during difficult times, also found its voice in the show. Three of Gurung’s close friends – Sarita Choudhury, Lisa Joy, and Min Jin Lee – graced the runway, adding a touch of personal connection and warmth. Large scarves wrapped around the body evoked a sense of tender embrace, further underlining the collection’s emotional core.
Even amidst the shadows of grief, Gurung’s signature feminine touch remained evident. Delicate fringe details complemented the shearling textures, adding a touch of whimsy. Hand-cut fringe offered a playful contrast to the heavier fabrics, while a loose-fitting ochre gown in dévoré velvet, reminiscent of Fortuny’s designs, paired beautifully with black leather pants, showcasing a masterful blend of structure and flou.
While the collection acknowledged the heaviness of loss, it wasn’t solely defined by sadness. Ethereal organza gowns in the finale seemed to float with an air of optimism, reflecting Gurung’s belief in the enduring power of hope and beauty. His words resonated deeply: “My thing is, I know what I know to make; I would say beautiful, feminine clothes, and I hope there’s strength in this beauty.”
©Photo: Prabal Gurung