Prabal Gurung has partnered with Hanky Panky for a limited-edition capsule collection of intimates this fall.
The collection consists of over 30 pieces, including underwired bras, bralettes, thongs, teddys, bodysuits, dresses and a limited-edition silk and lace blazer, among other pieces. Sizes go from XS to XL, with under-wired bras ranging from 32A to 36DD.
Inspired by the rhododendron, the collection is made of luxurious fabrics, and includes high-end details, featuring Hanky Panky’s U.S.-made lace.
Beginning Sept. 27, the collection will be available on hankypanky.com, in its two Hanky Panky stores on Bleecker Street in New York and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and in select retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie, ShopBop and Revolve, starting in October. It will also be featured on Gurung’s web site, but linked to Hanky Panky’s website for fulfillment.
Hanky Panky will introduce a digital and social movement called “Behind the Petals,” shining a light on the craftsmanship and behind the scenes making of the collection and encouraging the wearer to share their personal stories with the hashtag #behindthepetals.
Asked how Hanky Panky and Gurung got together, Brenda Berger, chief executive officer of Hanky Panky, said she and her team have followed the designer’s career and that he has stood out for his commitment to craftsmanship, advocacy for women, and his inclusivity. A mutual connection brought them together, and they subsequently discussed their values, intentions and what they care about.
The collaboration is starting as one season, “with a look to the future,” said Berger. Previous Hanky Panky collaborations have been done with designers/brands such as Monique Lhuillier, Stony Clover and Cynthia Rowley, all for one season. “This one we see a lot of potential, especially with the inclusivity and the audience we can reach and we’re excited to see where it goes,” said Berger.
Gurung said he has always wanted to design an intimates collection. “I always say I want to be part of this woman’s life, one dress or one clothing item at a time, step by step. My history in the fashion industry working with Cynthia Rowley, Donna Karan and Bill Blass, and especially with Donna and Bill Blass, I’ve seen the lingerie market and the intimates market, it has such a massive reach. I’ve been wanting to do it, and I want to build my brand,” said Gurung.
“For me what really gave me comfort, is people who work with Brenda, knew her, and her team spoke really highly of her. When we had the first meeting what was really amazing for me was it was all women. You can talk about women’s empowerment and inclusivity, and 90 percent of the time it’s all talk. To see it in action and consistently what they’ve been doing, it gave me a level of comfort. I wanted what we put out there to come through a female gaze, rather than a male-driven gaze,” said Gurung.
Asked if he’s considered setting up an intimates division at his own company, Gurung said, “Of course.”
He said when he was growing up in Nepal, women may not have had access to ready-to-wear, but they had access to the lingerie or the lipstick. “I still remember my first foray into fashion was the Chanel lipstick my mom had, or the YSL lipstick that she had. Or the lingerie that she had. We would talk about all this stuff. I was so fascinated. I’ve always wanted to have this. You want to expand your narrative and your story-telling. Nowadays, intimate apparel is no longer a hidden thing. Now I see how my nieces, who are going to college, wear lingerie inside out,” said Gurung.
Discussing the advantages of teaming with an expert, the designer said, “Whenever I do a launch or venture into something, I want to learn as much as I can. Hanky Panky’s expertise and knowledge was really important to me….Collaborations are an easy and first way of testing out ‘is this for you?’ I told all my girlfriends and they wear Hanky Panky and are excited to see it.”
For the collection, Gurung said he was inspired by the rhododendron, which is typically found in the mountains in Nepal and he found it while trekking. He wanted to tell the story of this flower that has inspired him and had a lot of memories for him. “We took the colors, the textures, the patterns and mainly the shape of it, and the cut and the embroidery. It started off with that.”
Berger called Gurung’s designs both feminine and powerful, comfortable and sexy, and inclusive and glamorous. She pointed to a Hexagon moment which stands out in the collection. It is clasps that are edgy and feminine on bra straps and bodysuits.
The collection starts at $32, which is 20 percent higher than Hanky Panky’s core product, and goes up to $600. “We pushed the envelope and the retailers were excited,” she said.
Berger recalled that Gurung was particularly excited by a garter included with a panty, which is one of the most expensive pieces on the line. “We would not have put that out under Hanky Panky alone. It really requires a collaboration with Prabal,” said Berger. She said there are also some beautiful silk dresses.
Some of the pieces will be shown on the runway Friday evening during Gurung’s fashion show on Roosevelt Island.
The collection is mainly manufactured in New York City, with some of the more intricate pieces being produced in Colombia.
Berger declined to disclose sales expectations for the collection since they’re still selling it. “There’s certainly a strong initial response. Some of our really important specialty store businesses tend to wait a little closer to the date. We certainly produced to what we thought our expectations would be, and we’re excited to see what happens,” said Berger.
Marketing will include leveraging Gurung’s fashion show, editor and intimate events, and events at department store accounts such as Bloomingdale’s, along with social media.
Berger said generally their designer collaborations have done very well. “It’s certainly important to our partners. We have quite an extensive omni-channel business. For this collaboration, we have a great collaboration with our Japanese distributor and there’s going to be a nice push for this collaboration there.”
She said the collaborations bring freshness to the customer’s expectation. “As Prabal said, ‘push it,’ and we pushed it. I think that the customer always shows up and we’ll be delighting Prabal’s customers as well,” said Berger.