Prabal Gurung Brings Art to the Runway

Prabal Gurung’s CV reads like a dream to fashion design neophytes: born in Singapore, raised in Nepal, attended Parsons, worked for Cynthia Rowley, directed design at Bill Blass, named the runner-up for the prestigious CFDA award in 2010—all by his early thirties, at which time he was already a favorite among young Hollywood it-girls from Carey Mulligan to Rooney Mara. And that’s just the beginning! With his design style described as “lady cool” by Vogue, what you may not know is that there is a wealth of fine art inspiration behind his coveted looks.

Gurung recently told Artsy...

“I often look to art for inspiration—my recent collections have been influenced by artists and photographers from Anish Kapoor, Georgia O'Keeffe, Nobuyoshi Araki, to Aaron Moran and Bert Stern. I’m intrigued by the nuances and subtleties behind all aspects of art, and that is really why I look into it. What is not obvious, I tend to find the most exciting.”

For his Spring 2014 ready-to-wear show, Gurung took advantage of the performative nature of the fashion show and put on a production akin to performance art. Breaking with conformity from the get-go, Gurung began the show with all of the models onstage, facing the audience in two rows, under bright lights, surrounded by a clear plastic curtain. One by one they emerged in a presentation meant to evoke the “preservation of the modern woman” and influenced by Marilyn Monroe’s “Last Sitting” photographs by Bert Stern. The designer was similarly inspired by art for his Spring 2014 show for ICB, a contemporary label where he leads design, using Dan Flavin light sculptures as a point of departure.

We offer a few of our favorite looks from the Prabal’s Spring 2014 Collection, alongside artworks by his artist influences on Artsy.

Explore the Art of Fashion Week on Artsy.