“In two or three years, I want the majority of my other designer friends to be right behind this.”
Prabal Gurung, talking Monday night from the launch party for his line with Lane Bryant and Ashley Graham, called for his fellow designers — American and European — to join him in embracing curvy women.
“I think Jonathan Simkhai is right behind you,” Graham said. “I’m going to whisper in his ear and tell him to put me in his show next season.”
Gurung sent models of all sizes down his runway this past New York Fashion Week, and is further promoting the inclusion of plus-sized women in fashion through his Lane Bryant line.
“I thought it was important that we as designers saw this world — the majority of American women,” he said, of working with the specialty retailer. “And really spoke to them. Their essence and intelligence validates my existence, and I wanted to return that.”
He met Graham two seasons ago when she sat front-row at his show, and she was soon after cast in the Lane Bryant campaign.
“When we met at the shoot, I wish that everyone could have…it’s rare you meet someone like her,” he said of the model. “There are few people like that — who have this ability to look at a room, understand it, and really work it, but be true to yourself. I find her fascinating. And it doesn’t hurt that her husband is hot.”
While Gurung considers his goal to include women of all sizes in his work second nature to who he is, many designers have yet to follow suit.
“Hopefully the European [designers] will be inspired by that,” Gurung said. “I want to make sure that the diversity conversation in fashion…the curvy, the plus-sized women don’t get left behind. You can’t have the success of one minority group without the success of others. It needs to be collective,” he said.
Gurung cast plus-sized model Candice Huffine in his show this season, while Graham walked in Michael Kors. “For me to see someone like Michael Kors, who I’ve admired for a long time, to embrace that….I would like to see it more. I would like for it to happen especially in Paris. The reason why I’m telling you that Paris is important is not for the general public — it’s also for the fashion snobs. Those people own the power and influence. For them to shift, a Céline show needs to have [plus-sized models]. A Prada show needs to have it. Once that happens, we won’t be sitting down like this.”
“There are still four days left,” Graham said. “Valentino can still call me.”