Who was Miss Havisham, the character in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, before she unraveled? Or at least, how did she dress? That's the question Prabal Gurung's fall 2011 collection, shown in the tents this afternoon, hoped to answer. The show was also inspired, Gurung explained backstage, by "how girls I've seen in Brooklyn dress up." He wanted the collection to be heavy on textures, adding, "It's more about taking precious fabrics like satin and and silk faille and washing it so it has a lived-in quality."
Karlie Kloss opened the show in one such crimson dress made from washed-silk faille — her very first walk in a Prabal Gurung show. "I needed someone who can build that character — like become really forceful," said Gurung, adding that a year ago he wanted to cast her, but couldn't. "I was doing something on [the blog] Fashionista, and I put it out there and said, 'You know, I hope one day she'll walk my show.' And a year later …" — she's opening in a cast that includes top models Joan Smalls, Liu Wen, Mirte Mass, Jourdan Dunn, and Constance Jablonski. "The agencies have been so amazingly supportive this season, I can't even believe it," Gurung gushed. "They pulled out all the stops. There's not a single girl that I'm 'eh' about."
And they had good reason to, with a front row boasting editors-in-chief from Vogue (Anna Wintour), W (Stefano Tonchi), and Elle (Robbie Meyers). Gurung, who was born in Singapore and raised in Nepal, thinks that the industry's recent fixation on Asian fashion models is a logical move for the industry. "You have to understand, the fashion industry reacts to the way the world is changing — the economy of the world, and politically, China and India are becoming more powerful. If they have the buying power now for luxury markets, then that means what? They want to see people like them. It's as simple as that. It's not much of anything — just simple logic, I feel."