To be a citizen of our world, to forge our own identity, to remain rooted and foster a community – what does this mean? These have been questions on my mind, especially amid a tumultuous political climate, a culture that often appropriates and misrepresents, a society where so manyare subjugated to the unseen.
In search for these answers, i look back at my roots—from my birthplace in Singapore to my home in Kathmandu, a beloved place I recently returned to for photo Kathmandu, a large scale photo exhibit supported by my foundation, Shikshya foundation Nepal.
Photo Kathmandu highlights new talent and celebrates the vibrancy of art and its ability to storytell, disrupt and provoke with conviction and optimism. During my trip, I found myself revisiting jhochhen street, known to some as “freak street,” the birthplace of the hippie movement, where westerners uprooted themselves to embark on a journey.
Redefining their very essence, they resisted with peace and enveloped one another with hope and love. This spirited place was and continues to be a nirvana for the explorative soul who seeks refuge from the confines of tradition and convention.
We travel back to the 1970s to trek on the path once known as the hippie trail. We depart kathmandu, voyaging through Delhi, Iahore, Peshawar, Kabul, Tehran, Beirut, before arriving back in the western hemisphere, passing by Rome, Paris and London.
We are nomads traveling through faraway lands, escaping society’s barriers while embarking on a transcendent trail. Along the way, we shed our skin, leaving a piece of ourselves behind. It is a cultural exchange of ideas and experiences as we search for a home that sees us, hears us, understands us and embraces us with freedom and empathy.
The confluence of these splendid cultures weaves together harmoniously. Speaking with colour and texture to forge unity and friendship, we revere ancient art and history with a fascination for the far east. Brocade patchwork hand loomed in varanasi and hand-painted metallic ombré palace motifs are collaged into our collective memory.
These visions are met by the glamour and exuberance of 1970s paris, as we recall the work of the greats – Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix, exemplified here through cascading chiffons, rive gauche silhouettes and layered organzas. We’re brought back to
reality, rooted by the pragmatism of modern american sportswear juxtaposed against traditional savile row techniques.
Utilitarian cargos are complemented with artisanal cashmeres hand knit in nepal, graphic houndstooth accented with quilting details, and flannel pinstripe lives alongside sacred fleur-de-lis print. With couture ideals, our tasaki atelier jewellery frees the spirit from traditional bonds and notions, allowing everyone ownership over their self-presentation and self preservation.
With new visual cues, we redefine how one is seen and where one belongs. We take an unabashedly hyper-feminine approach to celebrate diversity, joy and all of humanity. Through this collection, i present to you a joyous peek into our globetrotting suitcase that is the prabal gurung world – a multifaceted, colourful and optimistic place where integrity, purpose, levity and love are our most celebrated virtues.