NEW YORK — Designers often look to faraway places for inspiration, interpreting the exotic nature of an international destination and, in some cases, mixing their deep feelings for their homeland into their creations.
That's the case for hot young designer Prabal Gurung, who's a favorite of hip stars on the red carpet. In just the last few weeks several have been photographed in his eye-catching attire — Jennifer Hudson (while singing for the Pope and at opening night for the New York City Ballet), The Affair's Ruth Wilson (on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), actress Halston Sage (at the premiere of Goosebumps) and American Horror Story's Sarah Paulson (at the Emmys in a custom off-the-shoulder navy sequin gown).
Gurung's spring 2016 collection, unveiled during New York Fashion Week, will give his fans plenty to be excited about, although it's a bit of a departure for him. Gurung pays tribute to his homeland of Nepal, with fluid dresses and gowns in shades of saffron, burnt orange and vermilion (a brilliant scarlet), matching the colors of the robes a group of Buddhist monks wore while opening the show by chanting a blessing.
Gurung said in his program notes that he relied on images of growing up in Nepal — "a collage of my memories gathered" — while sketching designs for the collection. "I wanted the word to experience a glimpse of what Nepal means to me," he explained.
Gurung was deeply affected by a major earthquake that destroyed Katmandu in April and has poured his energies into raising funds for its residents. He has brought in more than $1 million for relief efforts and credits the fashion industry for its support.
The collection, which also includes shades of dusty pink, pale yellow, gunmetal gray and jet black, has a beauty and ease, with unadorned dresses that flow as models move down the runway. Jacquard prints are patterned after delicate Nepalese jewelry or marked with powder brushstrokes evocative of the culture, but the look is not overly reverential or costume-y.
Two of the season's big trends are highlighted with sheer overlays in some designs and a couple of shift dresses with long fringe hems. And the simple body-skimming gowns in silk charmeuse and chiffon that close the show are sure to be favorites of Gurung's Hollywood set and attract a number of new customers.