Prabal Gurung brings Buddhist monks to his fashion runway

The Prabal Gurung Spring 2016 collection is modeled during Fashion Week on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
The Prabal Gurung Spring 2016 collection is modeled during Fashion Week on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)

NEW YORK (AP) — It was an incongruous sight, even for New York Fashion Week, but a very moving one.

With a who’s who of A-list Hollywood actresses in the front row, Prabal Gurung opened his runway show with 30 Buddhist monks who had traveled to New York to chant a prayer of gratitude for the world’s help during the devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Gurung’s native Nepal in April.

“When the earthquake happened, the first people that came to our rescue in Nepal was the fashion industry here, and I wanted to show some kind of gratitude to them,” Gurung said after Sunday evening’s show. “I go and visit the monastery (in Nepal) all the time, and I had this idea, and they wanted to do it.”

The entire runway show was dedicated to Nepal, with garments in shades of lemon, saffron, peach, tea rose and other variations of orange and yellow. There was barely a dark color in the mix. Especially effective were lovely white dresses embroidered in orange and yellow, and filmy chiffon evening gowns that floated down the runway. There was also some fringe and sparkle in the mix.

Gurung had a lot of celebrity support: Attendees included Jennifer Hudson, Hailee Steinfeld, Laverne Cox from “Orange is the New Black,” Kylie Jenner, Solange Knowles, Broadway’s Phillipa Soo, and the Bush twins, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush.

Cox was wearing a bright blue Gurung creation. “I’ve just started working with Prabal,” she said. “It’s pretty cool. All of a sudden I am here, wearing his stuff at his show.”

Gurung said he hoped the world would learn a little bit about Nepal. “All I wanted to do is show a little of where I’m from,” he said, “and show it to the rest if the world. I hope they’ll be enticed to go visit, because that’s what Nepal needs right now.”

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