“Spring 2023 is a celebration of people who are often unseen but monitored, watched, scrutinized,” Prabal Gurung said backstage about his spring collection show. “In this trying time — a slightly dystopian time, I think — hope and optimism was not enough, the vigilance, alertness is more. Where I found this refuge was when I went with my nephew to Brooklyn to a rave.…I had a feeling in my gut — if I’m ever in a doubt about the world, hope is in the youth. It’s a celebration of the colorful.”
The designer was inspired by the exuberant, inclusive party-going crowd, “in full regalia celebrating,” and boldly tapped into rave culture to celebrate “the misfits” or, rather, individually through a cast of “characters” clad in tulle, sequins, revealing sheer layers, feathers, bright, bold colors and hallucinogenic florals. The designer played into juxtapositions, noting the couture-like 3D draped flower on an acid-washed denim skirt and the undone sensibility of his lineup, displayed through shoulder-baring, drapey blouses, low-slung, sheer suiting with boudoir accents, and his show-closing layered tulle gowns. These were looks made to turn heads — but the overall lineup felt more like eccentric costumes due to Vex Latex gloves, stockings and neon strappy sandals.
While the collection lacked his signature, streamlined take on power dressing, Gurung’s messaging was unwavering. “What’s the point of having a position that I have — whatever little that is — if I can’t show the world there are different versions of beauty through clothes and people?” the designer questioned.