DvF, Norma Kamali, and Prabal Gurung Discuss Talent, Fate of Garment District

Times Talk
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At last night's TimesTalk, the fashion luminaries tackled everything from Twitter to the conflicting sentiments around the ailing garment industry in the city. Here, our top 10 moments.

DvF on her favorite print:

"Leopard print is something that is completely timeless ... And why? Because, there's nothing more beautiful than a leopard ... The woman feels feline, and it's kind of nice to feel feline."

Kamali on her love for technology: 

"In the mid-90s, I had a website. And I knew, maybe, four other people that might be looking at it, but I was just so excited that I could connect to this very exciting part of my early learning of what was going on. So I've bitten the apple, I've drunk the Kool-Aid, I'm so addicted. Yes, first on line to get all this stuff."

DvF on Twitter:

"I'll tell you, I twitter, and the first day I twittered, I got robbed. And I had only sent two twitters, and I was in a museum in Madrid and I got robbed. So I twittered, I said, 'I got robbed!', and wow did I see the power." It was all over and I felt so bad because the Spanish had invited me and I was giving such a bad rap to Madrid."

On the interesting nature of our times:

Kamali: "This is the most exciting time to live in ... in our lives. I thought the '60s was so revolutionary ... it changed everything ... not near this."

DvF: "Well, that was pleasant too."

Kamali: "The '60s were a moment that changed everything since then, but this is bigger than the world."

On McQueen's Legacy (Prabal Gurung's Sidewalk Catwalk mannequin was inspired by the designer):  

Gurung: "I was thinking about why do I love fashion ... and all the designers I thought about. And with McQueen, someone who's always been inspiring to me personally and to a lot of designers I know ... I just really wanted to take a moment and pay homage to him, and to put it out there to the rest of the world that may not know about him."

DvF: "Just make sure you don't kill yourself."

Gurung: "I won't, I won't."

DvF on having a "signature look":

DvF: "You know, you don't choose. It's not like you say, 'Oh, I'm going to have a signature look.' It's like people say, 'Oh, you need an "It" bag.' Well, you only know that the bag is 'It,' when it's 'It.' ... I believe that good things happen out of authenticity, and not out of marketing."

DvF on being a young designer in today's turbulent industry:

DvF: "You have young designers like this wonderful guy (gestures to Gurung) who arrived in New York and who everybody loves, and he's young, and everybody says, 'Oh yes, but the business is difficult and it's a crisis' and this and that. But the truth is there are litte cracks! There are little cracks and if you are a nice little weed, you will grow through the cracks, and you will become a tree."

On the superiority of the American fashion industry in helping independents:

Gurung: I honestly feel, as a young designer starting out ... I feel so privileged and so blessed that I'm given this opportunity. And this happens only in America. This really happens only in America."

DvF: "That is true, I have to tell you, because now the Italians are doing something similar, the French -- I mean, Nicolas Ghesquiere from Balenciaga said ... 'We don't have anything like this in France.'

Kamali: "We want them to do well, we want the industry to do well. The better they are at being who they are, the better they make all of us look."

DvF on leaving Bryant Park for Lincoln Center:

DvF: "We would have stayed at Bryant Park, but they didn't want us. Now, of course, they miss us ... We were evicted, they didn't even want us, so we had to look for an alternative."

On the fate of American manufacturing and the decline of Garment District:

DvF: "It's midtown today. Maybe it won't be midtown. Maybe it'll be Brooklyn. Manufacturing in New York ... the prices are going up. The truth is, the thing about China is ... it will be the biggest consumer. So I could see that in 20 years clothes will be made here to be sold to China. Absolutely. What is important for America is to work on its intellectual property."

[After a confrontational questioner, more on the fate of the Garment District:]

Kamali: "I want to keep the business alive here ... And if the plant can't grow here, I'm gonna move it over there. I want a fight we can win."

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