The show was all about Gurung’s “cross-cultural journey, one that sees no borders” (as written in the show notes). It was a collection that used color as its universal language.
Models who walked in the show came from a diverse set of roots, hailing from Denmark, China, Korea, Peru, Australia, Brazil, Martinique, and more. The venue featured colorful prayer flags that were strung across the room’s ceiling. This show was very personal to Gurung, who explored his roots in Nepal ahead of designing this collection. During his trip to his homeland, he visited the indigenous communities there. One group in particular, the Rana Tharu, a subset of the Tharu tribe, stood out for him. He admired their “matriarchal culture,” noting their ability to “foster a strong visual identity by honoring the traditionally vibrant attire” that he says, “creates a quiet resistance and ever-powerful stance.”
This “resistance” Gurung refers to is tied to the modern feminism movement, fighting for equality in rights, wages, and representation. The models in his show represented all facets of this movement.
Joan Smalls, who is Puerto Rican, opened the show wearing a bright, color-blocked ensemble, a yellow ribbed bodysuit, and a sheer green-and-magenta midi skirt. She was followed by Gigi Hadid, who wore a white T-shirt and all-American red-white-and-blue silk flounce skirt. Gigi Hadid’s two model-siblings Bella Hadid and Anwar Hadid walked the show as well, in their own splashy sporty looks. Bella Hadid wore a colorful ’80s-style windbreaker jacket, baring her abs in a stringy pink bikini top and cargo trousers. A flood of colors oozed from the collection, which was chock full of vibrant dresses, hand-dipped tie-dye knitwear, skirts, and windbreakers.
The show’s attention to inclusivity was evident. Winnie Harlow, a model who has vitiligo, walked the show as did plus-size model Candice Huffine. Although there were plenty of notable faces on the catwalk, there were equally new fresh faces too.
This collection was a powerful homage to the Tharu tribe, who wear colorful ensembles, rich with embroidery, color-blocked tops and skirts, and layers of beaded necklaces. The last few artisanal gowns in the collection exemplified the tribe’s colorful culture, but refreshed for the modern consumer.
This show was significant for Gurung as well because it was the first time he introduced menswear.
NYFW has seen more diversity in representation this season than in the past. Claudia Li‘s spring 2019 show featured an all-Asian model cast. On Saturday, Pyer Moss‘s show was a powerful homage to black culture and featured only black models. Gurung is part of this progressive set of designers who see the importance in diversity and representation in the fashion industry. His collection was not only timely, but also a breath of fresh air sartorially.
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