Prabal Gurung likes his women strong, and strong women like his clothes. After dressing Kamala Harris in his suits for several years, he met the Vice President in the White House Rose Garden at a reception for Asian Americans last month. Michelle Yeoh, the kung fu mastering star of the excellent Everything Everywhere All at Once was his date to the Met Gala.
“Femininity with a bite” is how he’s described his aesthetic in the past. At his resort shoot he used the phrase “unapologetic femininity.” There’s a subtle difference, one that implicitly asks: Why does being a woman in 21st century America have to be a fight? Why is the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land for half a century? Gurung has been thinking long and hard about these questions. “I have to, I profit off of women,” he said, explaining that he decided his contribution would be to make sure that his customers “don’t shrink.”
The result is a tightly edited collection that finds Gurung at his most exuberant. Not that he’s ever lacked for zest, but here he’s turned it way up: working with floral printed brocades in electric shades of fuchsia and blue, cutting matching sets in plissé sequins in the same bold colors, and adding lace overlays and insets to fitted jackets and clingy dresses respectively. There’s no shortage of ruffles, either on cotton shirts or silk slip dresses, and a garden’s worth of fabric blooms accent necklines. Definitely no shrinking violets here.