NY Fashion Week: Prabal Gurung Fall 2013

Military touches are shorthand in high fashion for strength and confidence. Gurung added some exclamation points, specifically citing as his muse a woman in combat. There has been much in the news - and Gurung is a newshound - about the Pentagon's decision to open more on-the-ground options to women and also technological advances in women's body armour. "They're redesigning the whole uniform for women because all this while they've been wearing men's uniform,'' he said backstage. That led Gurung to think about women's empowerment, all the way to women he read about from the Ukraine who are coming together in self-defence against human trafficking. There were smart jackets with gold hardware and some with red-and-black brocades, crisp navy suits, and leather harnesses over stretch-crepe dresses with sexy slashes on the bodice and asymmetric peplums and hemlines. There had to be a little femininity mixed in with the aggressiveness, Gurung explained, because it's femininity that gives women their best tool "to rule a man's world.''

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