They say that competition is fierce in the fashion world, but you’d never guess it judging by front row attendees at some shows. Oscar de la Renta watched Diane von Furstenberg, Phillip Lim sat at Richard Chai Love, and Prabal Gurung was a guest at Carolina Herrera.
The connection between the latter duo is more than just mutual appreciation and friendly support—Herrera has been Gurung’s mentor, as part of the CFDA’s Fashion Fund. “More than anything else, what she told me to do is build a brand and she’s taught me how to build a company—the president of her company and her entire team is at my disposal, literally,” the Nepalese designer said after her show.
For Gurung, that means expanding internationally and adding accessories, secondary lines, and even menswear to his burgeoning empire—regardless of what people think. “One day when I had lunch with her, Ms. Herrera said, ‘Prabal, you’re getting all these great reviews, everyone’s supporting you—keep your head straight because there’s going to be a day when people are not going to like what you do, but you just have to keep on doing it. And the critics, let them say whatever.’ And that was interesting.”
Gurung, who described himself “in awe” of what Herrera has done with her brand, admitted that he felt a bit strange watching a show rather than working on it behind-the-scenes. “It just feels like when I was back in school,” he said, adding, “like, I don’t belong in the front row, I belong backstage!”