Following in the footsteps of Christian Siriano: Savior to Leslie Jones, Singapore-born designer Prabal Gurung is slated to release a limited-edition women’s collection in collaboration with Lane Bryant. The line, debuting in March, will span two seasons.
Its first installment will feature about 18 items, ranging from $48 tees to $398 leather jackets. Dresses will be priced between $128 and $138, while a skirt will run customers $108.
“Prabal really wanted to do this,” Linda Heasley, chief executive officer of Lane Bryant, told WWD. “He feels so strongly about the message we are advocating, that all women deserve good fashion. He can’t get buyers in department stores to buy his large sizes so he wants to work with us.” And he’s not the only one — according to Heasley, the brand has even more exciting strategic partnerships in the works (it’s already featured Isabel Toledo, Sophie Theallet, Lela Rose, Jessica Simpson and Melissa McCarthy). Prabal, who routinely (often futilely) offers buyers his ready-to-wear line in sizes up to 22, affirmed that the collaboration “just felt right for me to do. I have dressed women of all sizes from day one. I made a gown for the cover of O for Oprah Winfrey, who shared the cover with Ellen DeGeneres. It didn’t even look like it was a different size. It was an incredible opportunity. I don’t care about the size of women. I’m more interested in the essence of who she is. I want to be able in my own way to reach out to all these women who feel sidelined, and say to them, ‘You do matter to me.’”
He continued, “Everyone of us wants to feel validated, that we are being heard, that we matter. I felt this particular group of people were kind of not really truly being addressed. In a way, as a designer, I am already excluding a lot of people [price-wise]. Besides the personal and creative considerations, I look at the business side. Plus size is a huge market and one of the most neglected.”
A recent study by the NPD Group demonstrated just how huge and overlooked that market really is. While annual U.S. apparel sales increased by a lowly 7 percent between 2013 and 2016, within the plus-size category, profits increased by 17 percent — that’s a $20.4 billion dollar jump. However, it’s clear Prabal’s interest in inclusion extends beyond dollars and cents. After all, he was responsible for outfitting Laverne Cox in that stunning burgundy number for this February’s SAG Awards.
Based on Prabal’s aesthetic, we anticipate a line full of simple elegance. Think directional yet feminine silhouettes, dreamy prints, smart slits, deftly cut trousers, artfully mixed fabrics and, needless to say, show-stopping eveningwear.