When rising fashion star Prabal Gurung was planning his first foray into resort wear, the CFDA winner collaborated with another emerging talent -- M.I.A.-approved Baltimore dance-rap artist Rye Rye -- to launch the collection with an aptly titled music video: "New Thing."
"I have always followed the multitude of fashion films created by other design houses and loved seeing all the different interpretations of the collections, but the idea behind this was to bring other creative minds to the table and inspire our customers as well as the YouTube generation," explains the beloved designer, who counts Michelle Obama as a fan.
Gurung knew that a video was the perfect medium to showcase his resort looks. "Ever since I was young I found music videos to be such a great source of inspiration. Being that it was our first time implementing resort we wanted to celebrate this season and showcase the collection in a way that highlighted its bright and graphic elements while collaborating with new, exciting talent and thinking outside the box."
The video's concept was entirely driven by the fashion. "Everything from the repeating floral pattern to the LED light inspired by the graphic print on the shorts Rye Rye wears in the opening shot was taken directly from the collection," reveals Guring. "When Rye Rye came in for her first fitting we knew exactly the looks that would complement her and bring the collection to life. The hardest part was editing down the options."
Gurung says the collection's hallmarks -- bright pops of hot pink, yellow and green offset by a graphic black and white theme, florals, laser-cut polka dots, ribbon embroidery and hand-burnt sequins -- were rooted in artistic inspiration. The portraits of artist George Condo were one influence. So was the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. "Kusama is best known for her conceptual work with polka dots and her use of light and mirrors. She was in many ways a symbol of the '60s free love moment. She considers herself an 'obsessive artist,' which is a feeling I in many ways relate to," the designer explains. "Her work often dealt with feminism and as a designer, I have designed for women who knew their own worth before society dictated it. I have had a profound respect for intelligent women or as I always say, 'the thinking man's sex symbol.'"
And Rye Rye was the perfect muse. "When I first heard one of Rye Rye's mix-tapes some time back I was immediately taken by how unique and dynamic her music was," says Gurung. "Her authentic sound and tremendous energy was exactly what we were looking for, and I have always loved her bright, personal style."
So, what was Rye Rye's favorite look from the collection? "The dress of course!" she exclaims. "It was just so fantabulous and I never really wear things like that, so it made me feel so on top of the world -- sexy but cool because I was still dancing in the heels!"