Prabal Gurung is so excited that people want to dress up again, he’s almost giddy over it.
His private clients have been coming to him asking for things like dresses and tailored suits, he explains over Zoom, which is an exciting prospect for anyone after months of sweatpants, but especially for a designer like Gurung who does some of his best work in dressing customers for the fancier moments in their lives (or, at least, the moments that don’t happen over Zoom calls).
But Gurung’s Fall 2021 collection is about so much more than just the feedback from his private clients. In the middle of the Covid-19 crisis last year, he took a step back from the increasingly frantic fashion calendar, opting to skip showing the Spring 2021 season. Instead, he took the summer to wander the familiar streets of New York City, finding inspiration in everything from the Black Lives Matter protests he was seeing in Washington Square Park to groups of young people dressed to the nines and vogueing near the piers. It was, he notes with some surprise, one of the best summers of his life.
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). It is, in his words, a love letter to New York City.
While still delivering a dressed-up vision, he does take the stuffing out of the more formal pieces, either by whipping up ruched gowns in an unexpected cotton fabric or pulling back the volume on skirts. Dresses are tea-length and suits come with ultra wide-leg pants — not quite sweatpants, but still cozier than a more sharply-tailored option. Conversely, his more casual pieces, like a cargo pant for men, are done in moire, making for a nice play between the formal and informal.
Gurung roots his designs in his theory that men are most threatened by women in their full feminine glory — whether that means wearing a power suit, a mini skirt, or a romantic gown, he leaves up to the customer to decide. Ultimately, he hopes there’s something in here for everyone; there’s a black-and-white suit he could see just as easily on Harry Styles as Kamala Harris, for example.
Fall 2021 is still, in many ways, a departure from the standard calendar for Gurung; the collection actually comprises both the bottom-line-crucial pre-fall and more editorially-inclined fall seasons, since they sit together in stores anyway. But in every other way, this collection is classic Prabal Gurung: You can feel the joy in the movement, the care in the crystal-bow details, the love in the deeply saturated prints.
See the complete Prabal Gurung Fall 2021 collection in the gallery below: