Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Muse - Monday, 17th February

Our Spring 2014 Campaign launched last month, featuring Liya Kebede

PRABAL GURUNG is a brand just as much inspired by women of substance, grace and intangible beauty, as it is a brand established to inspire the same. As has often been reported, particularly of late, the PRABAL GURUNG woman is a woman who epitomizes what Prabal describes as ‘femininity with a bite.’ The rose with its thorn - the harness under a ball gown. For us, profound beauty cannot be comprised simply of aesthetic, but must also refer to intellectual, emotional and artistic capabilities.

For Spring 2014, a collection whose narrative referenced the concept of preserving the elegant and accomplished woman, it seemed therefore both fitting and necessary to celebrate a character of such integrity and infallible beauty, a woman who has achieved so much and stands as a symbol of such extraordinary female empowerment.

Liya Kebede was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She’s been seen on the covers of Italian, Japanese, American, French and Spanish Vogue a number of times, and has featured in campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton - amongst others. She’s been named by FORBES as one of the world’s top 15 highest earning models.

In 2005, Kebede was appointed WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and in 2006 the Liya Kebede Foundation was started, the mission of which is to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality in Ethiopia, and around the world. She is also part of the Champions for an HIV Free Generation, an organization of African leaders who advocate for increased HIV prevention and treatment efforts in Africa.

Liya launched her clothing line ‘Lemlem’ in 2008. Meaning ‘to bloom’, the line, that sells hand-spun, woven and embroidered women an children’s clothing was founded to preserve and promote the traditional arts of her homeland.

Looking aside from the statistics - awards she has won, figures she has achieved- Liya’s philanthropic endeavors act as a genuine example of her compassion and concern for those around her. The ability to see beyond your personal success, and further, feel the compulsion to share your privileges as best you can with those less fortunate is not something everyone can do, or wants to do, and is something that requires integrity, resolution and an undeniable degree of grit. Liya commemorates each and every one of these qualities, she is absolutely one of the most inspirational female role models of our time. Her strength of character radiates with sincerity, and her beauty undoubtedly comes from the inside. She is this Monday’s muse.

The Liya Kebede Foundation


Friday, February 07, 2014

Prabal Gurung Fall 2014

‘In Mustang, leave nothing but footprints..’

Mustang; a source of awe, a place of solace, with a history of myths and legends.

Mustang is the former Kingdom of Lo, an ancient Tibetan kingdom that is now part of Nepal. Until 1991, no outsiders were allowed to enter Mustang. The Nepalese government tenaciously kept this slice of mythical, spiritual land closed to all foreigners - save the odd inquisitive scholar.

Hidden in the Himalayas, it is protected by its remoteness - for centuries the only way in and out was on horseback. Explorers in the early 1900s described Mustang as a 'hidden kingdom' - the practice of Tibetan Buddhism has remained unchanged since the 14th century.

It remains wild and isolated, one of the world’s last few existing and genuine indigenous tribes. For a considerable and challenging permit fee, foreigners can now wander the dirt roads, crumbling monasteries and isolated villages. The Champa Lakhang Temple, standing close to the palace of the Raja of Mustang, houses the largest collection of 15th century Buddhist murals in the world. (Most Tibetan art was largely destroyed by the Chinese in the 1950s). Walled settlements are guarded by fierce Tibetan Mastiffs, and the Mustang people live in flat-roofed, mud brick houses. Rooftops are often stacked with piles of firewood , and with fuel being scarce in the barren lands such displays can be seen as demonstrations of wealth.

Mustang has been described as the last true Shangri-La of today’s cultural landscape – Shangri-La, the fictional utopian Tibetan lamasery described by English novelist James Hilton in ‘Lost Horizon’, a place of inner peace, love and sense of purpose. The PRABAL GURUNG collections have often referenced Nepalese culture, but this season is directly inspired by Nepal, and the richly mythical and legendary culture it celebrates.

PRABAL GURUNG Fall 2014. Saturday 8th, at 12 Noon. Live streaming at


Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Muse

Last weekend Angelina Jolie won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the fifth annual Governors Awards. As I reflected on the composure, elegance, dignity and compassion Jolie radiated standing on the podium, I began thinking about her life and career as we know it, and felt instantly compelled to have her as our next Monday Muse.

The humanitarian prize was awarded to Jolie for her charitable work with United Nations Refugee Agency for the past decade, for which she had made over 40 field missions, including helping refugees from Cambodia and Syria - this doesn’t cover even half of her contribution to philanthropy in general. In her acceptance speech, Jolie comments on the moment she understood her responsibility to others - the moment she realized how sheltered and fortunate her life had been and decided to commit her life to helping those less fortunate. Also not to forget - Jolie has simultaneously been the recipient of an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. There have certainly been the cynics who doubt the integrity of her cause, and I write this in definite opposition to them.

Angelina Jolie has undertaken the most fascinating evolution in life, as a spectator I feel one can only admire what she has achieved. From Girl, Interrupted to receiving this award.. Perhaps she has made a few ‘wrong’ decisions, run wayward a few times, but there is no denying that throughout all the choices she has made in life and in spite of what may have been considered ‘right’, she has remained entirely true to herself. To do this, and more importantly to do this in the public eye, requires an undeniable amount of inner strength and belief. In this world of flagrant pop culture that we live in, this world of Real Housewives and Snookis, it is so important to hold a beacon to the popular culture icons who act as a genuine reflection of the society and community we live in today. Jolie in no way glorifies the shallow, materialistic and bogus temptations of our times - we have been able to watch a woman mature and grow with her generation, using the opportunities she has been given to better herself and those around her.

There is certainly an element of surprise that Jolie has ended up where she has, and this can only make us applaud all the more. I identify with a journey that started out problematic, and not without demons, and can appreciate how far she has come all the more. Her acceptance speech thanked her late mother, her role model and constant supporter. Again I can identify with this. Jolie’s story is one of true resilience, she epitomizes the concept of ‘femininity with a bite’ that so defines the woman I design for. She is this Monday’s muse.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spotlight on Greta Bellamacina

If you've been following our Monday Muse Journal series, you'll know we have recently been keen to celebrate women from around the world that we feel are uniquely talented, spirited and inspiring. In line with this theme, we wanted to take a minute to talk about this young, beautiful poet and model from London, Greta Bellamacina.

The Better Geranium

I like to pretend
I don't care as I pour you a lake
From my kitchen sink.

I pour you my tears
Wide-wept dunes, to the
Geranium hero liver, in
Seas of flowerfaces.

I reorder my ways,
Cause my 'Friends' told me it was the 'right' way.

"I hope you will stay better"
I say it, but don't know it.
You will go, because I will go,
In innocence when others are not innocent

A less to lesser us both
My daytime idol, as it appears, bacteria
I grew.

Greta graduated from King's College London in 2012, with a BA in English. Her poems and articles have been widely published in various magazines and international poetry journals - a regular contributor to Harpers Bazaar UK, known for supporting the literary world through fashion, the publication has been a follower of Greta from the early stages of her career. Greta has also been short-listed as the Young Poet Laureate of London.

Greta has recently collaborated with Dame Vivienne Westwood to help campaign for climate issues. Creating new, emotive poetry about the climate, and world we live in, helping raise awareness for Westwood's 'Climate Revolution'.

Her poetry revolves around an unwavering devotion to words, a curiosity for depicting emotions from unfamiliar phrases and seeking unique lexical patterns.

Her debut collection of poetry 'Kaleidoscope' was released in 2011, her newest collection is entitled 'To December - A Devotion To She.'

Read Greta Bellamacina's poetry here..


Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Muse - Monday, 14th October

Much has been written and reported about Malala Yousafzai, the young champion of women’s education. On October 9th, 2012, aged 14 years old, Malala was shot in the head twice by the Taliban in Pakistan. She was returning home from school on the school bus when targeted point blank by the militant group for speaking out about their behaviour and for the promotion of women’s education. Somehow, Malala made what is widely believed to be a miraculous recovery. Flown firstly to Peshawar, then to England, she survived a not only barbaric, but also life threatening head injury.

"The fact that she didn't die on the spot or very soon thereafter is to my mind nothing short of miraculous," Dr. Javid Kayani told Diane Sawyer, anchor of ABC News.

The doctors who treated Malala told the BBC that her recovery was ‘a tribute not just to the quality of the care she received - but also to her own resilience and determination.’

This resilience and determination seems to define Malala, and her story exists as proof that both can get you through the most devastating of situations. We have written regularly about women who stand as pillars of strength, confidence and intense, but quiet, self assurance - Malala, now an international symbol of girls rights' for education and security through her efforts to fight extremism and oppression, is a prime example of this woman.

Malala rose to prominence in 2009 when she wrote a blog for the BBC Urdu service about her life under Taliban rule and the lack of education for girls. "I wanted to speak up for my rights, and also I didn't want my future to be just sitting in a room and be imprisoned in my four walls and just cooking and giving birth to children. I didn't want to see my life in that way."

She now wants to become prime minister of Pakistan, following in the footsteps of her role model, the late Benazir Bhutto.

Last Friday, Malala Yousafzai just missed out on winning the coveted Nobel Peace Prize. Regardless of the outcome of the award, we decided some time ago that she would be this Monday’s Muse. Malala's bravery and dedication to her cause we feel is truly, truly remarkable. She not only stands up for women's rights, but in doing so demonstrates the female strength, sophistication and unwavering confidence we admire so much.

Read more about Malala with the BBC


Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Muse - Monday 16th September

This Thursday the New York City Ballet Fall 2013 Gala will open with costumes designed by Prabal Gurung. Having spent the last six months working with choreographer and dancer Justin Peck, immersing ourselves in the world of dance, movement and theatre, the more and more we came to realize the extent of dedication and persistence ballerinas devote to their craft, the multitude of hardships they face on a daily basis.

Amongst these dancers there are so many inspiring, infinitely talented and endlessly persevering women, and we felt that in light of the upcoming Gala, this week’s Monday Muse should pay tribute to them.

We were introduced to Wendy Whelan by Peck. At the age of 46, Wendy remains a principal dancer of the New York City Ballet. Not only do most dancers retire well before 40, Wendy also suffers from severe scoliosis - The New York Times recently named Wendy as "America's greatest contemporary ballerina”.

Similarly to many of our past Monday Muses, Whelan gains immense motivation through adversity. She admits to Broadway World, “I thrive on the challenge, the exchange, the collaboration and the discovery. These experiences have shaped my artistic evolution and have kept me motivated and fulfilled.”

A diagnosis of severe scoliosis is crippling for anyone. Requiring constant therapy from a young age, hours a day spent fighting your spine’s inclination to twist and curve with exercises and core work, long periods of time in a hard brace, soft brace, or cast - all the while knowing the likely outcome could simply result in extreme surgery, a fusion of your spine, in order to protect your organs from being crushed, and your body deforming - it without a doubt tests the strongest of characters. To excel as a dancer requires a precision of poise, balance and harmony that feels impossible to achieve with a curved back. However Whelan proves otherwise - after her treatment at the age of 13, her determination remained unwavering, she would continue to attend ballet class in a full cast from her shoulder to her hips.

“I have this crooked body,” she tells The New York Times, “so I have to be really disciplined with it. It has to stay strong and limber, or else it gets tight. I also feel like if my spine is longer and more open, I don’t get depressed." The discipline pays off – Whelan is renowned for being one of the most adaptable, elegant and accomplished dancers in America.

“She’s New York’s treasure,” Mr. Petronio (of Stephen Petronio Company) said. “The longevity of her career has been astounding. She’s like a great architectural building you pass day after day.”

Wendy Whelan is proof of a sincere and dedicated pursuit of beauty against all odds, and someone who refused to give up on her talent. Both qualities we admire without exception, and so she is this Monday’s muse.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Muse - August 26th

Last weekend, I went to see Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine featuring Cate Blanchett and I walked out instantly knowing who our next Monday Muse would be. Cate’s performance stayed with me for days. Haunting, compelling and raw, it was one of those rare cinematic experiences in which the chasm between audience and projection melted, and I felt a complete and unnerving connection with the fictitious world on screen. I couldn’t get Jasmine out of my mind.

It got me thinking about talent, pure, raw talent. In a world in which anyone can be famous, there has to be something said for those individuals who remain as steadfast devotees to their craft, who remain oblivious to the buzz they so organically generate. My most vivid memory of Cate is from the 77th Academy Awards, in 2005. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress in The Aviator, and wore a pale yellow Valentino gown. It was one of those great moments for me, as a fashion designer, with great talent and great beauty colliding so sensationally. It followed from my first memory of her when nominated for Best Actress for Elizabeth, wearing the hummingbird embroidered Galliano gown in 1999. Cate wears clothes with a rare elegance and finesse, and simultaneously, but independently, maintains her identity as deeply respected actress. This multi dimensional nature of her character I can’t help but admire and applaud.

Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton have been the creative directors of the Sydney Theatre Company since 2008. They work together day in, day out for this institution, believing passionately in the preservation of theatre and performance. Credited with bringing international film and theatre directors into STC productions, Sydney Theatre Company chair Ian Darling has said - “They’ve transformed the company and the way many people feel about it”. Again going back to the idea that real craft and skill can get a little lost in the age of digital frenzy we live in, there is something so inspiring and refreshing about the dedication that has gone into this project. Cate draws so little attention to herself, yet regardless continues to succeed in proving herself to be a true ambassador of the arts.

I have no doubt that Cate will be nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Blue Jasmine, and indeed I have written this as a humble plea not only that she does, but that she wins. I can think of no one more deserving.



Friday, August 23, 2013

Our Fall 2013 Digital Campaign

Our Fall 2013 Digital Campaign features Bridget Hall, was shot by Daniel Jackson and styled by Tiina Laakkonen with Creative Director Christopher Simmonds.

As Prabal said to the New York Times :

“We’ve grown up with this fantasy about supermodels,” he said. “I felt personally it was the right moment to celebrate women of that age.”

Bridget speaks to the customer, a perfect representation of the woman the Fall 2013 collection was designed for.

Featured on the cover of Vogue, French Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Japan, as well as Harpers Bazaar, Elle, Italian Elle (at least three times) and W Magazine - to name but a few - she has also been named one of Sport’s Illustrated top 50 Swimsuit models and been the face of Dior. Bridget Hall is an established legacy of iconic, timeless and powerful beauty. She bridged a gap between high fashion models, and every woman. Her ability to work between American Athletic and French Couture gives her an edge, that beauty with another dimension.

And indeed, shooting Bridget was a dream, there was an undeniable ease about her, a quiet and natural strength of character that was present at all times, backstage and in front of the camera - a perfect muse for this campaign.

Check out more the behind the scenes footage HERE


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Who we're listening to..

Alex Catarinella talks to Natalia Kills

It’s safe to say that there are a slew of powerful ladies currently ruling the pop music universe. But come September 3rd, when dark pop recording artist Natalia Kills releases her LP, ‘Trouble,’ some room will need to be made. At 27-years-old, the British musician already boasts quite the resume including a lauded debut album, 2011’s synth-heavy ‘Perfectionist,’ and traveling the globe playing sold-out arenas as an opening act for Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Robyn and more. But as you’ll soon hear via ‘Trouble,’ an opening act she is certainly not.

Instead of the dance floor-ready anthems prominently featured on her debut, ‘Trouble’ sounds like, well, trouble. There’s screeching guitar riffs and defiant drums; there’s visceral shouts and girl group “oohs”; there’s hauntingly honest lyrics about domestic abuse, visiting her father in prison (purchase her song “Saturday Night,” recently featured on, for proof) and even ending it all, in addition to runway-friendly bangers like “Problem,” where Kills sassily warns about herself over sirens: “That girl is a goddamn problem.” Backed by production from music heavyweights Jeff Bhasker and Emile Haynie, both of whom have worked with Kanye West, Lana del Rey, and Fun, ‘Trouble’ is like torn pages from Kills’ lifelong diary (Did we mention she writes all of her own music?). She also designed the album artwork for ‘Trouble,’ which finds Kills glamorously framed within a collage complete with cop cars, dripping pink nail polish and roses... all the while clad in a Prabal Gurung dress.

We caught up with Kills and chatted about all things fashion… and what kind of ‘Trouble’ to expect from the talented buzzed-about artist very soon.

Who taught you the most about “style”?

When I was really young my mother always wore a mink coat, clip-on gold and pearl earrings and short Versace dresses. She looked like Ginger from ‘Casino’ with all the Cartier bracelets and sunglasses! When I was a teenager, I had no money and I'd wear black all the time so people couldn't tell how expensive or cheap my outfit was… I dreamed of having nice things and would go try on clothes in designer stores even though I couldn't afford them, just to feel wrapped in luxury for a few minutes in the changing room.

What does elegance mean to you?

Elegance is everything! It’s not about how new or expensive your shoes are -- it's about how gracefully, playfully and powerfully you walk in them.

If you could raid anyone's closet, whose would it be and what would you take?

I'd raid Dionne's closet from ‘Clueless.’ She's the perfect mix of preppy rich girl meets bad ass. I'd steal her hat collection and all of her plaid mini skirts and blazers.

Describe your forthcoming album, ‘Trouble,’ in five words...

All my best mistakes yet…

Intriguing! Okay, spill more...

It's high impact bad girl anthems over hip-hop drums and grunge guitars. My friends call it "Girl Interrupted Pop" because in almost every song I'm confessing about something bad in my past -- stalking my ex boyfriend, trying to set fire to the house with us both in it, getting taken away by the police, visiting my dad in jail, leaving home at 15, making out with boys I'd never met before, suicide attempts and running away to Paris. Fun times…

What song from ‘Trouble’ is the most special to you?

My favorite song is “Saturday Night.” It's my life story in four minutes of music!

Going into the making of the album, was it your plan to reveal so much from your past? Why the need to do it now?

My first album was about wanting everything to be perfect when it really wasn't at all. ‘Trouble’ is realizing why things were so messed up and that most of it was my fault. I was wild and didn't understand consequences. Despite everything that's happened, I'm not trying to be fixed or saved. It's not therapy -- I'm not trying to get over the trauma, or even get better. I want to look in the mirror and see the scars as well as the beauty and think "Fuck yeah, these are mine and no one else's." This album is a confession -- it's me being naked in front of everyone, so they can see something that they thought was pretty rosy is actually just as much a mess as themselves. There doesn't have to be secrets or regrets -- the only mistake is trying not to make any.

And on a lighter note. What can we expect from your upcoming performances?

I just started rehearsing with my band! We're all girls, we're all hot and the guitarists can really shred…

Preorder Trouble here..


Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Muse - August 19th

Taryn Simon

As we have established, our Monday Muse is a tribute to women of depth and accomplishment, and most particularly what lies behind them - the character, sensuality and soul that drives them, and that is so admirable.

Taryn Simon has exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Whitney Museum, as well as the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Centre Pompidou in Paris and London’s Tate Modern - among many others. She works an artistic medium that consists of three elements, photography, text and graphic design, exploring the impossibility of absolute understanding. A globally recognized talent, she is also wildly beautiful.

What really draws us to her, however, is the acute and unwavering curiosity that fuels her work. Her first book ‘The Innocents’ documents the stories of several individuals who served time in prison for violent crimes they did not commit. Fascinated by the way in which photography (the mug shots, composite sketches, polaroids etc) offered the government a path to mistaken identity, Simon photographed these men in places that in some way referenced their improper conviction. She fully reveals the potential ambiguity of the photograph - as a representation of anything in life - and the consequences this ambiguity can lead to.

In 2009 Taryn investigated contraband items seized at the customs and border control of JFK Airport. What she found was a completely compelling insight into the eccentricities of human nature. She remained on site for four days and nights, doggedly pursuing what she wanted, and ended up with 1,075 photographs of items that ranged from cigarettes, drugs and unidentified liquids to Ukrainian pork fat, Viagra, Indian cow dung toothpaste, an Asian deer penis, a bird corpse and a plastic pitcher of salami.

It’s certainly tempting to categorize Taryn Simon as a political artist, but she in fact rejects the notion. While she accepts that there might be some political undertone to her work, she maintains that it plays no part in her agenda. What motivates her is a thirst for the unknown, a curiosity, an interest in the diverse and complex role photographic imagery can play in the world. What she doesn’t understand is what exhilarates her, not the opposite. More of an artistic sociologist than political activist. Udo Kittelmann of the Nationalgalerie Berlin says of Simon ‘Taryn documents the soul of the world.’

Taryn Simon is a woman who is undaunted by complicated tasks and the impediments her line of work brings forward - she says of herself to The Guardian’s Sean O'Hagan ‘In some perverse way, obstacles interest me and I'm drawn to projects that end up being incredibly laborious." She likes to push herself and her boundaries, finding ease and simplicity unfulfilling.

We particularly love Joan Juliet Buck’s report of Taryn for W Magazine:

"First there’s the flashing beacon of the intellect from across a room; then you find this stunning woman, her beauty magnified by her intensity and intelligence.”

She has that coveted quality, that quiet, unassuming allure, a sensuality sustained by an intense intelligence and sense of innocent, but fiery curiosity. She is a PG woman, and this Monday’s muse.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Muse - August 12th

Waris Dirie

With racial diversity on the runway an ongoing issue - women of color continue to be overwhelmingly underrepresented – we’ve recently been thinking about the legacy of fashion icon Waris Dirie.

Waris Dirie has walked the runways of all important fashion houses in New York, London, Milan and Paris. She has appeared in advertisements for Chanel, and L’Oreal and has been featured in Vogue, Elle, and Harpers Bazaar – to name but a few. Most importantly, she was the first black model to be used by Oil of Ulay - Waris Dirie began her legacy by proving that beauty did not exclusively require white skin. From the beginning of her career, she has stood as a figure of powerful moral rectitude, questioning and confronting the vain and the superficial so rife in her world.

She was spotted in London by fashion photographer Terence Donovan at (allegedly) the age of 18 and became one of the world’s most famous supermodels. We say allegedly, because the truth is Waris doesn’t know exactly how old she is. As reported by The Daily Telegraph , she thinks she was about 14 when she fled her native Somalia for London. Her uncle needed to give her an age for her passport, and decided it would be 18. Waris had undergone female genital mutilation by the age of five and had been arranged to marry a 60 year man by the age of 13. A fierce determination to fight for what was right, and refute what was wrong, clearly drove her from a young age- she fled Galkayo, Somalia, wanting to escape her destiny and settled in London, where she found a job with McDonalds, taking night classes to learn English.

Unlike some, Waris Dirie never saw her luck and success with the fashion world as a be all and end all saving grace. She says of her modeling career ‘It was not my dream come true… it all just happened.’ Accepting that fashion is fun, ‘ridiculously fun’ she can’t bear the frivolity that in many aspects goes with it - she felt that as a model she was achieving nothing good for the world.

In 1996 she abandoned her modeling career to focus on her work against female circumcision. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations appointed Waris Dirie as UN Special Ambassador for the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation. The practice has gone down in recent years, but the United Nations estimates that 30 million girls in countries across Africa and the Middle East are still at risk.

In 2002, Dirie established the Desert Flower Foundation to increase awareness, create and provide support networks for victims and organizing events. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. She has received the “Women’s World Award” by President Mikhail Gorbachev and the “Chévalier de la Légion d’Honneur” by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Waris Dirie is an inspiration. An epitome of grace under pressure she has used the success and platform she was given as best she could to make a positive change in the world. Not satisfied with merely a personal achievement, she has in the face of huge adversity campaigned for what she believes is right. As a child, being a woman seemed, to her, to be painful and unhappy. Realizing the opposite she continues to campaign against this, encouraging young girls like her to be proud of who they are. Regardless of her achievements, the spirit and energy behind her campaign is honorable, and testament to a woman of enormous strength and integrity. And so she is a PG woman, and this Monday’s muse.

Desert Flower Foundation


Monday, August 05, 2013

Monday Muse - August 5th

There has always been a strange sense of antagonism between fashion and powerful women, a belief that women must sacrifice femininity to gain power, authority and respect -- and that fashion especially is too frivolous a concern for serious women. I have never understood this notion, and I wouldn't be doing what I do today if I believed it.

What I have always believed in, though, is the idea that with more women in power and more feminine influence in society, the world would be more empathetic and compassionate and would become a better place.

The quiet inner strength of my mother - her unwavering belief in and quest for integrity and justice, her unflinching philosophy of grace under pressure - has always had a profound influence on me and the way I view women.

But day by day I become even more fascinated by the ever-complex world of women, by the many hats and various roles women wear and play throughout the day. Be it my mother, sister, teachers, friends, individuals from our industry, celebrities or famous leaders, the impact and influence women have on my life is immense and just the same.

I truly believe that a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman, but a beautiful woman with a brain is an absolutely lethal combination. Women of integrity, depth, sensuality and strength have always been my source of inspiration, the reason for what I do and how I got to where I am today. They are all my muse. If my quest, in what I do - to make women look and feel beautiful - reflects even a tiny fraction of my deep-rooted respect for them, and succeeds in celebrating these lives of strength and substance, then I will consider it a job well done.

With this in mind, I have decided to pay tribute, and start a series on our blog The Journal, called ‘Monday Muse.’ Our first Monday Muse is Suleika Jaouad. We have been lucky enough to become acquainted, through friends, with this astonishing example of inspiring spirit, strength and talent.

I hope you enjoy reading, and draw as much inspiration from these women as I do.


Suleika Jaouad

A triple citizen of the US, Switzerland, and Tunisia, Suleika graduated with highest honors from Princeton University in 2010. She was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia at the age of 22, about three years ago. After almost 2 years of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant this past April she is finally cancer-free. Her weekly column ‘Life, Interrupted’ in the New York Time’s ‘Well’ section has chronicled her journey as young women living with cancer. Her blog ‘Secrets of Cancerhood’ began as a therapeutic outlet, and quickly turned into an inspiring legacy of hope and re-assurance for cancer patients, survivors and, really, anyone.

Suleika writes beautifully, both frankly and openly, teaching her readers and followers about coping, moving forward and staying positive in the face of life’s most tragic interruptions. She chose not to feel sorry for herself, but to do everything she could to brighten her darkest days, as well as those of patients and sufferers around her. Her articles would be titled things like ’10 Things Not To Say To a Cancer Patient’, ’10 Ways To Help a Friend with Cancer.’

In one of her most inspirational articles, “Making Resolutions”, she discusses how during her pre-cancer days, she would constantly make resolutions for herself that she never saw through.

‘I’d always excelled at making resolutions. But I was never as good at keeping them. Like a lot of young people, I burned the candle at both ends, with an age-appropriate dose of invincibility’

She promised herself that if she ever went into remission, she would never stop short of her goals again. Suleika serves as a reminder for all of us to take life day-by-day and to enjoy every moment. It’s impossible for us to predict life’s interruptions and is one’s duty, when you are able, to truly live life to its fullest extent. To remain as such a beacon of hope, encouragement and positivity during such an experience represents a type of bravery only few are capable of having. And so she is a PG woman, and this Monday’s muse.

Suleika has been featured in The New York Times, Glamour’s December 2012 issue, NBC’s Weekend Today Show, NPR’s Talk of The Nation and All Things Considered, and The Paris Review. She is the Angel Ambassador to Gabrielle’s Angels Foundation.

Read Suleika’s column ‘Life, Interrupted’ HERE

Read Suleika’s blog, secretsofcancerhood HERE