Prabal Gurung Spring summer 2023 collection
Voyeurism (noun): the act of watching people without seeing them.
This past year, my perennial north star of hope and optimism seemed to fade. It was becoming more challenging to see moments of beauty, freedom, and light during what felt like a constant boomerang of unease and isolation—both politically and culturally.
The status quo—the patriarchy that somehow always seems unnerved by the unapologetic authenticity of this tribe of “misfits”—seemed even more emboldened to ensure their regressive values ruled the day, especially against values and bodies that are not their own. The world seemed to be getting smaller in ways we’ve built beyond: with less acceptance and more resistance.
To grasp glimpses of joy and belonging, I ventured into the outer boroughs: the style, the confidence, the nightlife, and these younger generations evoked a familiar but new sense of unabashed authenticity that reignited the same fire my mother gave me as a boy. Their diverse individuality somehow united them, creating an overwhelming sense of community and celebration. It was impossible for my inner, younger self to see them and not wish that I had them when I was younger. But as they say—some things take time but time is all they take. Thousands of miles from Nepal, dozens of miles from manhattan, I found home again.
Amidst incumbents who’ve told themselves that the only way to regain control over what they do not know is to monitor it, relabel it, condemn it, and repeal it, I found those whose own existence was a protest.
This inspiration is seen throughout the collection with acid wash denim in corsetry and couture details to bring together these seemingly different worlds, the intricate hand draping of silks to create an effortless effect paired sculptural leather pieces, the juxtaposition of muted metallics with neon brights. Signature silhouettes such as structured suiting are reinterpreted and deconstructed, shown with sheer tulle and chantilly lace underpinnings as if catching hidden glimpses of intimate moments. Revealing more skin and celebrating the bodies, the people, who wear them is the boldest form of self-expression.
This is my celebration of those who are so often watched—on subways, across the bridge, in corners—and never seen. The ones whose names you never know—but whose defiant actions you can never forget. To the ones who are demonized because they are not understood in genders, in colors, in places, and in values that others know: on this runway, know that we are no longer watching you—we are seeing you. Why? Because we are not for them. We’re ours.