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Twitter is Divided Over Models Wearing Sindoor at Prabal Gurung’s New York Fashion Week Show

Twitter is Divided Over Models Wearing Sindoor at Prabal Gurung’s New York Fashion Week Show

  • The Nepalese American designer explored the Buddhist concept of “anichya” or impermanence and used traditional red vermillion, and other colors to match his outfits.

Sindoor, the traditional vermilion red or orange-red colored powder, worn by married Hindu and Buddhist women along the parting of their hairline, might go global, thanks to well-known designer Prabal Gurung. 

The Nepalese American explored the Buddhist concept of “anichya” or impermanence, through his exquisite Fall/Winter 2023 collection at the New York Fashion Week 2023, had some of his models, with their hair neatly parted at the center, don the vermilion. Apart from the traditional red, the designer had them sport the same in other colors matching their outfits. His collection featured models wearing outfits featuring oversized shoulders, slits, crop tops, flowy silhouettes, and embellishments, enhanced by their signature juxtaposition of draping and tailoring.

Speaking about the theme of “anichya,” Gurung told The Associated Press in a backstage interview that “in Nepal, we talk about it all the time, what is present and how soon it can go. And there’s actually an optimism to that, especially during these challenging times.”

In an interview with Reuters, he said he wanted to recreate the starlit nights for the runway show he experienced during his latest trip to Nepal at a 10-day silent retreat he attended at the suggestion of his mother. “I wanted to go back home to Nepal simply because, you know, that’s where my spiritual connection and reconnection is.”

Twitter was divided over Grurung’s fashion statement. Many hailed him for promoting Nepali culture and traditions, some criticized the move as regressive and patriarchal. 

Nepali actress and Mrs. Nepal International 2021, Usha Rajak, tweeted that “red is the color of love, color of courage,” and praised Gurung for “promoting sindoor and Nepali culture through fashion.”

A user named Nirdayii said in her tweet that the designer “glorified & highlighted his roots and culture” at the fashion event. 

User Marx Jacob offered his take on the sindoor on the runway. “I think it made sense in the context of the show, it fits with Prabal’s East meets West brand identity, and (dare I say it) I thought it looked cool. I particularly liked the different color options.”

Another Twitter user had a message of caution for all the naysayers. “Before people lose their minds, Prabal is a Nepalese-American who was raised in Kathmandu, and Nepal’s population is over 80% Hindu.”

Meanwhile, Deeja Deeja called the fashion statement patriarchal. ”Nepali women don’t adore sindoor. They’re made to adore it through structure.”

Twitter account Team Sundays Cultural accused Gurung of appropriation. “Couple of years later it might be sold as some white brand aesthetic product while attention-deprived Hindu women celebrate this in the comments.”

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