In what has to be the first time in New York Fashion Week history, not one but two shows have featured at least one chanting monk. The first, of course, was Givenchy's Marina Abramovic-directed meditation on 9/11. The second, Prabal Gurung's, inspired by the destruction and despair caused by the earthquake in the designer's native Nepal.
The show began with a dozen Buddhist monks shuffling onto the stage in their paprika and saffron robes. They then launched into a deep, throaty chant, putting the previously punchy audience into a kind of trance.
Then, there were the clothes. Gurung, in recent seasons, had shown a tendency to overembellish or overthink things. Not here. The collection began with easy cream silk pieces streaked with violent colors and almost collaged-looking slip dresses that resembled jacquard — a reference to chaos and destruction. But by the end, with a trio of floaty floor-length gowns in warm sunlit shades of golden and deep melon, it had become imbued with lightness and hope. It was not only a testament to the power of a a fashion show, but of when a designer lets his honest emotions and passions guide him.