People like to talk about drama when they talk about a show. The elements of a runway experience are not just looking at what's coming down the runway but how and in what way it comes down, what sounds are informing you, what smells and sights. Show is stage, and if drama translates into dollar signs the more of it the better. Prabal Gurung's show was large and expansive, filling an entire loading dock with smoke and fog in the dark. A fitting environment for his recurring interests in transformative and darkly ethereal motifs. Ceiling lights were replaced by a network of white beams from some indiscernible distance, and as the ominous and bassy heavy harp music began, Joan Smalls came stomping down the runway in Gurung's flowing white opener, an epic choral of girls following in suit. Gurung cited sculptor Amish Kapoor's work with red wax as an inspiration, the setting giving his blood red infused gowns an essence of Catholic or Medieval clout. The show's producer, legendary runway coordinator Etienne Russo, knows a thing or two about drama by way of Chanel and Lanvin, and infusing a space with emotion is something very few people can do, Gurung also being one of them.
Dazed Digital: Joan Smalls as an opener is pretty exciting...
Prabal Gurung: I love her, she's been a good friend of mine for a long time, just the history of where she started and where she is, just to see that journey and witness that is great. Now she's a number one model on models.com! I'm such a modeliser, I just love the models. It was a great thing to be able to style her, she is the perfect girl.
DD: Why is she the perfect girl?
Prabal Gurung: Things didn't happen for her overnight, she had to work for it. That success story, with paying your dues, is rather radical and something I find so enchanting.
DD: What were some of the themes behind the show?
Prabal Gurung: The inspiration was proposing an idea for the new sense of sensuality and sexy. It's no longer about body-con type dresses, moving away from the body and not so tight. There's a cascading, gentler, slightly in-flight feeling to the clothes, and a sense of freedom and ease within what I do.