Prabal Gurung Womenswear A/W12

Transformative skull motifs and a transition from darkness to light characterised the show

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The mood board backstage boasted a dark series of images in shades of blue and green. Among them were overdyed Jan Van Eycks, English ecclesiastical paintings, pictures of the Japanese blue rose and, on top of them all, a stark white photocopy of Georgia O'Keefe's decaying cow skull. These skulls wove their way in and out of the entire collection; appearing as double ended brooches, affixed to high collared neckpieces, centrally printed on some dresses and abstract motifs on others.

Finally I feel like I'm in a place to deal and address the darker side in me, because I was always afraid of the unknown. It's the translation of someone coming from the dark to salvation

Fashion usually knows a skull through the rock n roll tip or as the Memento Mori, a reminder of our mortality and a symbol of humanity's unity in death. This Gurung skull played more like the Death card in Tarot, symbolising change and self transformation; reminding us that what seems linear is always circular. Kali, the hindu goddess of time, death, destruction and rebirth is always depicted with a necklace of skulls. Georgia O'Keefe's painted skulls in the desert are testaments to time's natural inclination towards beauty.

Prabal Gurung's collection touched on religious themes and silhouettes (note the Archbishop caps by Phillip Treacy) but this was more about spirituality said the designer backstage. "It's dealing with the duality of life," said Gurung before his show. "All of us have this in us, the dark side and the light side. Finally I feel like I'm in a place to deal and address the darker side in me, because I was always afraid of the unknown. It's the translation of someone coming from the dark to salvation."

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