After presenting a sportswear-driven collection for spring 2010, Prabal Gurung delivered an about-face with his Valentine's Day show inspired by Miss Havisham, the jilted spinster from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. The glamorous fall collection — complete with corsetry, ostrich feathers, fur, and washed silk — was a critical success for its fabric treatments and gorgeous draped gowns. Off the runway, it's been a busy year for Gurung: He was nominated for the 2010 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize (Billy Reid took home the award) and has outfitted everyone from Hailee Steinfeld at the Golden Globes to Michelle Obama on Oprah. Tonight, he’s being featured as one of USA Network’s inaugural Character Approved recipients (11 p.m.) alongside ten other creative visionaries, including chef Grant Achatz and writer Nicole Krausse. But despite acclaim, the designer remains modest. “I do what I love the most — that’s the biggest award, indulgence, and luxury,” he says. “So when I get success and attention, it can’t just be for myself. The more you give, the more it comes back to you.” After the whirlwind of Fashion Week, he’s taking a break for his annual trip home to Nepal this month before diving into his next collection. We caught up with the designer to discuss his fall show, famous muses, and high-top collection.
What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
A smile, that’s it. Listen, I’m not trying to come across as a cheerleader — I’m just happy.