What It’s Like Backstage At Prabal Gurung

Me and Prabal
Photo: Alex Catarinella

I met my insanely talented buddy Prabal Gurung two summers ago at a gay dive bar in the East Village. Being the consummate professional fashion blogger, I had no clue he was a designer, let alone “this generation’s Oscar De La Renta”, as I’ve now heard it be whispered. I later learned—via, like, every fashion-outlet-in-existence the next morning—that the cause for PG’s perma-smile and arms-flailing dance-floor takeover alongside his fashiony posse (who he playfully calls his “sisters”) was that he’d just gotten the news hours before that Michelle Obama had rocked one of his designs. NBD. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to faint onto the catwalk for two spectacular Prabal Gurung shows. Yesterday was my third, for his buzzed-about Fall 2012 collection, and you best believe it when I say, girrrrl, it was EVERYTHING and a bag of Swarovski-encrusted chips.

This is where I’m supposed to hyper-dramatize how bananas the backstage situation was (see: models tripping into clothing racks and publicists shrieking incoherently into their headsets.) Not at a Prabal Gurung show, fashion folks. (Although there was an unbeweaveable table lined up with hair pieces that could have added flair to hair-pulling drama if there had been any.)

Makeup charts
Photo: Alex Catarinella

Prabal-y, his secret to a meltdown-free backstage is that the designer always keeps it in the family and completely trusts his team. One of the designer’s leading “ladies” is friend and fashion publicist Shaun Lee Lewis, who scurried all over the place pre-show, Twitpic’ing and hash-tagging away (#PrabalLive2012) for @PrabalGurung (We even witnessed him approaching an ice-cold faced Anna Wintour… AND SUCCEEDING! You go, girl!).

Gold skulls
Photo: Alex Catarinella

Backstage, I chit-chatted with jewelry designer, Dana Lorenz, of the pretty-and-punky Fenton/Fallon, and FOP (friend of Prabal), as she stood guard at her table of Fenton for Prabal Gurung jewelry. My eyeballs were j’dying over the Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired fierceness — though I’m mostly obsessed with the heavy-duty chokers. SERVE THE KIDS, HONEY! “Because we’re friends, it’s really special and kind of emotional,” says Lorenz of working with the designer. “This collection is major. I love Prabal’s stuff and him as a person. I’ve seen the progression, especially of this collection, in the last few weeks. It’s truly everything that he wanted to portray emotionally. And I hope the jewelry fits with it.”

Newsflash: it absolutely does and beyond.

Dana Lorenz and Bryan Boy
Photo: Alex Catarinella

Yet another famous FOP, the perpetually fab blogger, Bryan Boy, was carefully studying the array of looks from behind his space-friendly specs, and his eyes set upon the exact piece I’d wanted. “The gold astro-turf coat, it has my name stamped on it.” He says. Heads or tails, BB?

Gold astro-turf coat backstage
Photo: Alex Catarinella

Of the collection, Bryan Boy has this to say: “He’s really evolved as a designer. I’ve known him before he started and he’s really out in full force. I’m just so proud that he’s really found his place. He’s incredibly talented and I love his aesthetic. I find him inspirational,” he said. AWWW.

And then, there was the man of the hour, clad in his signature tight black v-neck and skinnies, with biceps bulging and immaculately coiffed hair. The show, entitled UNCURSED, which started off on the darker side of the spectrum and ended with bright, light, whites, is about “dealing with the duality of our lives.” Interesting. I then pressed him for details on the runway-stomping tunes. “Lil Kim. No, just kidding!” laughed PG. “Music is the soul to the entire collection; it sets the tone. It’s going to be very moody. Nothing too popular.” As for which songstress he’d like to see in some PG (besides last season’s front-row sitting chanteuse, Lana Del Rey)? His response is unimpeachably chic: ADELE. “As long as they’re intelligent, I like women in all shapes and sizes.”

Prabal hangs with the racks
Photo: Alex Catarinella

Floral details
Photo: Alex Catarinella

The show was supposed to begin at noon, but it wasn’t until 12:30 p.m. when the paper was removed from the runway, which, PS I was totally concerned that the camera-snapping legend known as Bill Cunningham was going to nose-dive into. Duh: every well-heeled editor occupied a seat in the covetable front-row. Wintour sat directly across from another FOP, Ms. Zoe Saldana, who killed it in a major PG suit from last season.

Prabal Gurung Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week show
Photo: Getty Images

Runway hats
Photo: Getty Images

12:43 p.m. and The Antler’s exquisitely haunting cover of the xx’s “VCR” plays, as they fittingly coo “I think we are superstars…” (Are you trying to say something, Prabs?) It fades out, ’90s-tinged electro-beats start a pumping, whispers die down, and a stampede of models in intense Philip Treacy for Prabal Gurung high-fashion visors hit the runway causing a collective gasp (in my head at least). I could go on for six more paragraphs about the sleek, straight hair, the Blade Runner-ish eye-shadow, the zany Prabal Gurung for Linda Farrow Projects eyewear, the Prabal Gurung for Nicholas Kirkwood gilded pumps, you get the perfect picture…

Blade Runner makeup
Photo: Alex Catarinella

Nicholas Kirkwood shoes
Photo: Alex Catarinella

I most definitely experienced overactive sartorial droolage when Joan Smalls literally sparkled in a flowing, black sheer sequined gown, giving me a little of Morticia at the Met Ball. Tears were almost happening when Candice Swanepoel glided down the runway in an ivory tulle, hand-embroidered flowing gown with ostrich feathers. I suppose I was flying away into Prabal paradise, because after I blinked like 3.5 times, it was the freaking finale. Did that just happen? Cue the applause: Prabal adorably jogs down the runway like a giddy school kid. (We whole-heartingly believe he should’ve high-fived Anna, but there’s always next season…)

Candice’s and Frida’s dresses
Photo: Alex Catarinella

Backstage, models smized it Tyra Banks style for the non-stop flashing bulbs. Prabal was flocked by admirers, photographers, editors, you name it. FOP and quite the familiar face, Mr. Brad Goreski, patiently waited for his turn to congratulate his friend.

Brad Goreski
Photo: Alex Catarinella

“I went to his first presentation years ago. I knew from the first minute I saw his clothes he was gonna be huge,” he gushed. “There’s such an organic kind of progression. His evening-wear is so exquisite, but I LOVE the way he does daywear. The knitwear, the varsity jacket, the tailoring on his pants — he never misses a beat. I love him so much. He better work!” And work it, he did. Without a doubt, Prabal and his sistaz had A LOT to celebrate again. Whether or not they chose to end the night toned arms-a-flailing and booties-a-bouncing at that East Village dive bar is the question.

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