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Prabal Gurung Talks Collaborating With Zoe Saldana, Avoiding Marc Jacobs, and the Red Carpet Race


>> Prabal Gurung
went dressed as Marc Jacobs — complete with tattoos, stubble, kilt, and combat boots — to The Standard's Halloween party this past weekend, but as Gurung told us yesterday in San Francisco where he was holding a trunk show at Neiman Marcus’s Union Square location, he avoided Jacobs seeing his costume: "So I was [at The Standard], and I met some of [Jacobs's] friends, and they said, 'Come meet Marc!' As I was taking my steps toward him, I thought, what if he hates it? I’ll be mortified, so I just said, 'No way.'" Gurung continued: "I was so petrified. I saw him the next day at the Women’s Wear Daily event, and I just tried to avoid him! I just didn’t know how he would react to it . . . I hope he liked it!"

So we had to ask: Zoe Saldana has mentioned that she would love to do a collaboration with you . . .

I can’t talk about it right now. I mean, I would love to. Zoe is one of my dearest friends; I’ve known her for almost eight years now, before Avatar or anything happened, and we’ve always talked about doing something. The collaboration we would do is going to be a collaboration that benefits something. Whatever little attention I’m getting, and whatever crazy attention she’s getting, when we combine forces, it has to be not just for economics; it has to be for something better — that’s our goal. She’s shooting right now, and I’m travelling, so we talk a lot. We’re supposed to talk on the phone today, so we’ll see. We’ll keep you posted.

So you guys are definitely talking about it?

Yeah, we are talking about it, but it’s not something like “Oh, we want to do shoes.” It’s more like, "How can we do something that seems authentic?” Because there are so many collaborations out there, and I think the customers are just inundated with that. What is it that is going to be true to me, true to her, true to you guys? Why would you want to buy it? It need to be honest, I feel. Right now, I would give you a direction of where it’s going, but there is nothing yet . . . we just don’t know yet.

Speaking of collaborations, you worked with Nicholas Kirkwood on shoes this past season. Do you plan to continue that or would you do your own accessories anytime soon?

Right now, we're going ahead with Nicholas for the next season also. [Spring 2011] was the first time we did it, and it’s been received so crazily, so amazingly well . . . so we both are very happy. Down the line, definitely — it won’t be like next season that I’m launching my own shoe collection — but definitely in the near future, I will be launching shoes and handbags.

Nice! Do you already have any sketches in the making?

If you knew a little bit about me, all this stuff, with Fall 2009 as my collection's launch . . .  About 15 years ago, I had written in my diary — and I’m not kidding — that I wanted to do something then. So I’m a little bit of a planner — not like an OCD planner — but I just like to write down thoughts and ideas. I’m also very open to the idea that I might change them, but I always like to plan stuff.

While we're on the topic, are you interested in any other type of collaboration?

You know, with collaborations and everything, the goal is this: I’m not interested in just being a flash in the pan. I’m interested in the longevity of my career. For me, I’m at point A; I have to go to point Z. It’s a long process, but I’m extremely patient. I want to build a lifestyle brand that has longevity. In 20 years, when I look back, maybe in 20 years we can sit down and talk about it again. I’m not interested in trends, or being cool, or anything. It’s more about timeless but relevant clothes that have a place on the runway, in editorial magazines, as well as in someone’s wardrobe. I’m making clothes for women to wear, not costumes.

Awards season is just a couple of months away, are you looking into entering the red carpet race?

This is what I say: I never get into the red carpet race. We make ourselves available, and if an actress or stylist feels it is the right partnership, I’m always open to it, always. It is important for branding purposes to get your name out there, but what I don’t believe in is the cutthroat kind of thing. If it’s going to happen, it’ll happen. You just have to make yourself available, and that’s what it is.

Who are some of the actresses that come to you a lot?

I met Demi Moore through Rachel Zoe, and she has been the biggest supporter of mine. I always say she’s my fairy godmother, and then there's Zoe Saldana, Carey Mulligan, and Leighton Meester. We've always dressed Thandie Newton, who I love. All the women that I’ve dressed are very intelligent, smart women, beautiful — no doubt about it. But when you sit down and talk to them, they’re not giddy . . . they’ll talk sense to you. That’s what I enjoy about dressing them.

Is there anyone that you haven’t dressed that you would love to dress one day?

There are a few. I love Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman, Rebecca Hall, and Julianne Moore. The girls I’ve named have some kind of substance to them — they’re unique, they love fashion, but they’re also extremely talented and very good at their craft. Without fashion, they could still survive. I would also love to dress some politicians, and their wives.

Well you’ve already dressed a good one — Michelle Obama!

Yes, she’s been the biggest champion. She is truly a godsend.

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