Prabal Gurung Champions the American Girl for Spring 2022. A quick recap on Gurung’s ode to femininity in his Spring 2022 collection.

As fashion critic Robin Givhan says, “To be girlish is to be powerful because power is redefined.” This quote was used as the final line to Prabal Gurung’s latest press statement for his Spring 2022 collection. For this collection it seems like Gurung was focused on what it means to be a girl, specifically being one in America. “America has always been a woman — but she has not always been treated beautifully. What does it mean to be the most essential person in this country? What is feminine? What is American? And who gets to be it all — or none of it?”

Although blending politics and fashion might be a hit or miss, this collection was one that wouldn’t make you roll your eyes with the type of graphic-slogan-printed-on-fabric activism that we’ve seen in the past, but instead a more subdued and understated take that invites you to rethink what femininity is. Gurung claims that the marches, protests, and advocacy that he’s seen the past year have inspired him to create a collection that was based on rethinking the ‘Girl’.

Prabal Gurung Champions the American Girl for Spring 2022. A quick recap on Gurung’s ode to femininity in his Spring 2022 collection“I’ve always been inspired by women as well as my feminine-leaning friends,” he says in his statement, “Those who boldly define what ‘feminine’ in itself is, how ‘beautiful’ is shaped, who should control her own body and which voices must be heard to challenge every form of injustice.”

He takes inspiration from classic silhouettes that a woman would wear and rethinks how he can turn these essentials into something new that’s just as moving, without taking away what makes the piece feminine. All this time, what we wear has dictated our identity, our clothes have always created a perception of how much of a woman we are and Gurung’s newest collection is challenging that.

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His collection features stereotypical femme-coded floral and gingham prints whilst also presenting re-iterations of the power suit (that he’s also made for America’s lead girl, Kamala Harris.) He brings back corsetry, which was a must-wear for women in the past, and a trending piece for it-girls currently, in several looks with masculine models walking in some during the runway. He mixes the classic puffy ball gown silhouette that’s prominent in western dressing, with draping and fluidity that’s often found in traditional Asian womenswear.

“So these classics are envisioned with a new lens encompassing confidence, boldness, and fearlessness,” says the designer himself about the latest collection. With Gurung reconfiguring age-old womenswear silhouettes into something that pushes boundaries, it’s no surprise that a part of this collection will be presented in the Costume Institutes’ “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” exhibition. (Text Vanya Harapan)