“I design for the thinking man’s sex symbol,” says New York fashion designer Prabal Gurung. “I really try to find that balance between feminine lines and strong, sculptural silhouettes.” For spring 2012, his seventh collection, Gurung did just that, combining strength with sultriness, pairing rich purples, metallics, and geometric cuts with flouncy fabrics and strategically placed panels of sheer material.
Born in Singapore and raised in Kathmandu, Gurung studied at the New Delhi National Institute of Fashion Technology and apprenticed with Manish Arora. In 1999, he moved to Manhattan to intern at Donna Karan while attending Parsons. During his first year, he was named Best Designer in the school’s annual competition with FIT. “You feel the creativity up and down every hallway,” says Gurung. “Parsons allowed me to find my way not only in fashion and design, but also in a city where I knew no one. I was exposed to all different realms of design, and it became a crucial time for me in my career.”
On graduating, he spent two years at Cynthia Rowley and five as Bill Blass’ design director before hanging out his own shingle in 2009. Today he dresses powerhouse women: First Lady Michelle Obama, Demi Moore, Zoe Saldana. He has received accolades including a CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear and a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award and was recently named a finalist in the National Design Awards, given by the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Right now Gurung is working on pre-fall and fall 2012 collections and collaborating with Linda Farrow on a line of sunglasses—appropriate, since Gurung’s future looks very bright indeed.