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Ladies Man: Q&A with Prabal Gurung

Since his debut at New York Fashion Week in February 2009, Prabal Gurung has made quite a name for himself. Just ask his frequent patron first lady Michelle Obama. The on-fire designer recently made an appearance at San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus to showcase his Spring 2011 collection. Gurung sat down with us to talk about his designs, his friendship with Demi Moore, and his message to women everywhere.

Tell us about your latest collection.
For spring, I divided the collection into two groups: Color blocking and nudes. I wanted to play with colors and their relationships with each other, going with matches that people wouldn’t normally put together. To offset the brights, I used neutrals—a little bit of beige and white and a lot of texture.

What kind of woman do you design for?
The woman that I design for is intelligent, a thinking man’s sex symbol. She’s well traveled and well read. She has access to technology, she’s aware of the space that she’s living in, and the relationship she has with the world around her.

In other words, a very sophisticated woman?
We’ve had more than a decade of girls in dresses that are too short, too tight, and too revealing. I live downtown in NYC, so by no means am I conservative. I just got sick of seeing that look everywhere. It got me thinking. What happened to celebrating women not just for their bodies, but for their minds as well? I’m not saying to disregard sensuality and sexuality, but there needs to be a balance.

You’ve styled some pretty significant women.
Demi Moore and Zoe Saldana were the first people. Demi’s been so supportive, and Zoe’s a dear friend of mine. I’ve dressed Oprah, Carey Mulligan, Leighton Meester, and Kate Hudson.  But for me, dressing the first lady was perhaps the most monumental. Dressing Michelle Obama just completely changed the game for me. It has been surreal. This is the kind of thing you hope for. You don’t expect it, but you definitely hope for it.

What do you love about San Francisco?
The style here is extremely sophisticated and very, very chic. The women I’ve seen here aren’t vulgar. Everyone in the city is educated and really thoughtful. It has been the city with the warmest welcome. And for that I am forever in debt.