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NEW YORK — After five years at Bill Blass, Prabal Gurung is launching a signature label with a fashion presentation Feb. 12 at the Flag Art Foundation here.
This story first appeared in the January 22, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Undaunted by the recession and the recent shuttering of Blass, Gurung’s move to unveil his 15-piece collection publicly is self-funded. Gurung said he has been selling made-to-measure pieces to private clients for the past few years. He intends to sell his signature ready-to-wear to a few specialty stores domestically and abroad.
“This is my first time around,” Gurung said. “I want to show what my story is. I want to take fashion back to being about well-made clothes.”
Wholesale prices will range from $400 for a top or blouse to $2,500 for an evening gown. In true Blass fashion, Gurung is determined to make trunk shows an integral element of his business. Selling to Net-a-porter.com is another objective to ensure a global reach for the designer, who was born in Singapore, raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, and schooled at Mumbai’s National Institute of Fashion Technology.
In 1999, he relocated to Manhattan to attend Parsons The New School for Design. Gurung was an intern at Donna Karan and worked for Cynthia Rowley before joining Blass.
Beyond design, Gurung’s experience at Rowley and Blass enabled him to get a handle on fashion’s many dimensions, including production, pricing, sourcing, celebrity dressing and public relations.
“I have no delusional grandeur,” he said. “I have always wanted to start my business really small, very humbly and modestly. I want the clothes to speak for themselves rather than any unnecessary hype. I want to make beautiful clothes that are timeless yet relevant. I want to be recognized for what I do, not because where I hang out.”
But Gurung will be in good company when he launches his collection. The work of Ed Ruscha and other contemporary artists is featured in the Flag Art Foundation’s current “Wall Rockets” exhibition at 545 West 25th Street.