Of any designer on the New York Fashion Week schedule, ApparelMagic client Prabal Gurung might be among the most steadfast proponents of diversity and social justice. From fundraising after the earthquake in Nepal to consistently thoughtful model-casting, Gurung does the walk to his talk.
So what better way to celebrate a decade in fashion than to take his vision back to the source? For his spring 2020 collection, he reimagined classic Irving Penn and Cecil Beaton fashion photography from the 1940s, asking one specific question: what if our image of beauty came not just with white skin, but included everyone?
So with that conceit, he took off: ballgowns and classy separates in patriotic red, white, and blue. Then florals, both printed and appliqué, some paired with matching bouquets cradled in the crook of an arm. Feathers, too, made an appearance, of course, here used in huge marabou shrugs and across the bodice of gowns.
Seeing the range showcased by such a variety of models, however, was the main event. Gurung showed the industry how much it had been missing out on by only now beginning to come to terms with race.
Sashes across the models read “Who gets to be American?” like a surreal, woke beauty pageant. And with that, Gurung is up for another decade of challenging the industry to be more inclusive and just than ever.