In Conversation: Prabal Gurung


Singapore-born Nepalese designer Prabal Gurung is no stranger to the spotlight by now. The Parsons fashion design graduate, who launched his eponymous label in 2009 after design stints at Cynthia Rowley and Bill Blass, became an overnight fashion sensation when his designs were seen on the the high-profile likes of America’s First Lady Michelle Obama and UK’s Duchess of Cambridge. Despite the fanfare and popularity surrounding the 35 year-old,  one gets an impression that Gurung remains unfazed, preferring instead to keep his vision sharply focused on what’s ahead. For male fans of Gurung’s modern luxe aesthetics, the future looks super exciting as the designer reveals to Men’s Folio his plans to launch a menswear collection.

Below: Prabal GurungPrabal Gurung

Welcome back to Singapore! What’s impressed you since arriving in Singapore so far?

Thank you! It feels really great to be back after such a long time. I ‘m just really blown away by how everything here can be man-made or synthetic but yet still beautifully designed. Everything from architecture to nature, it’s like things that are not suppose to be there can be made as if they belong.  Also, the people here are just so nice. Our driver has been so friendly and helpful.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding thing about my job is the ability to design clothes, twice a year, that people want to wear when they see it. Ultimately it’s encouraging to see people wearing your designs on the street.

Are there any plans to start a menswear line?

Yes definitely. there are plans although we can’t give a specific date but safe to say, it will be a reflection of what I find appealing on a guy It’s going to look cool yet functional and wearable.

That’s really exciting to hear! What kind of guy will you be designing for?

It’ll be a guy I think who likes to wear something well-made that’s not too attention-seeking, someone who likes to dress in a classy, unaffected way. These are also the same qualities I find appealing in a guy I consider stylish.

Who are some of the menswear designer’s that have inspired or influenced you?

I was in love with Helmut Lang’s designs when he was still at the helm of the brand.  At the moment, there’s a really cool Italian designer brand in New York called Antonio Azzuolo that I’m really digging as well. I’m also a fan of (menswear designer) Kim Jones. But personally when I dress I like to go with Japanese brands like Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garcons.

What are some of your personal style rules?

You know, I always believe my work should be at the forefront and not me. I think because of that I’m not someone who enjoys looking too flashy. I like pieces that are still classic in their silhouettes but have an interesting twist in terms of execution. It could be anything from unexpected details to interesting choice of fabrication.

What’s one fashion faux-pas you made that you wish you hadn’t?

I don’t think I regret any of them per say but let’s just say I’ve had my phases growing up! From rebellious punk rock to grunge in the 90s.

Who are some the male figures you looked up to as style icons? Are there any guys out there today you think are pretty stylish and you wouldn’t mind dressing?

Growing up I always admired the effortless masculinity that actors like Marlon Brando, James Dean and Paul Newman exude. It’s what resonates with me as well you know, having this unaffected sense of style. Today I think guys like Eddie Redmayne and Jared Leto are both pretty stylish without being overly-styled. In Asia, I think Japanese actor Ken Watanabe is pretty cool too.

How will you be spending your summer this year?

I’ll be heading to Langkawi after Singapore for a break. I usually like to spend my summers in the South go France, London or Paris.