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Shi Tianyun
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Luxury, Showbiz

Prabal Gurung likes bubble tea, working on collabs & Hailee Steinfeld

herworldPLUS | Shi Tianyun | Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Actress Hailee Steinfeld arrives with designer Prabal Gurung at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit on May 5, 2014.

There's a certain national pride that comes from knowing that Prabal Gurung was born in Singapore.

When I trekked to The Sentosa Spa and Resort for an one-on-one interview with the designer, I was prepared to warmly welcome him home, only to remember that the man didn't spend his formative years here.

But he has returned to Singapore to open this year's Audi Fashion Festival and everyone here, including myself, is excited to meet him.

Prabal Gurung represents the cosmopolitan face that is today's fashion industry. Born in Singapore, he was brought up in Kathmandu before starting his career in New Delhi.

In 1999, the Nepalese designer moved to New York and the rest is fashion history. Gurung is part of the group of young Asian designers, including Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim, making an impact on, and changing, the international fashion industry.

Despite the sweltering weather, Gurung was cool in his uniform of white V-neck tee and black jeans, munching on the tapioca pearls of a bubble tea drink.

When I asked him whether he's ever thought of climbing Mount Everest that so happens to be in his homeland, he was serious in his reply, "Climbing Mount Everest is a big deal. I trekked a lot but that's a big challenge. One day and some day." I guess after conquering the fashion world, no mountain is too high for Gurung.


What are your thoughts on the Asian fashion market?

It's extremely important for a luxury brand like mine that's playing in the global field to understand where the power and strength is happening.

All these Asian countries are becoming all of sudden powerful and 'resourable' [sic] so it's important that you are relevant in that part of the world. That's why I'm extremely proud of my own heritage and where I come from - I've been unafraid of embracing that. Presence in the right market, especially the Asian market is a priority.

Do you think being Asian gives you an advantage when it comes to breaking into the Asian market?

It might work to my advantage. At the end of the day, what people really respond to is the product and the product has to be good and of quality. That's what I stand for - the integrity of the product.

How did you end up dressing and being Hailee Steinfeld's date for the recent Met ball?

[Hailee Steinfeld] was nominated for the Golden Globes for her first film True Grit and she wore my dress. That was my first Golden Globes moment and also hers.

Over time, I've seen her grow up and mature into this beautiful young lady. When we decided to go to the Met ball together, I wanted to make her look age appropriate and give her confidence and let the world see the woman she was becoming.

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