Fashion Week

Prabal Gurung put important feminist quotes all over his spring/summer 17 collection

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Anna Pollitt
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High fashion and feminism have collided at New York Fashion Week with Prabal Gurung's Gloria Steinem-inspired spring/summer '17 collection.

The designer, a vocal feminist, weaved key quotes by famous women into his designs, with words from the likes of Steinem, Susan B Anthony and Emily Dickinson emblazoned on loose t-shirts, floaty dresses and even trouser hems.

Dickinson's famous "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul" line appears on a soft black font on a white tee embellished with sequins and trailing long, delicate feathers:

While Susan B. Anthony’s "they threw things at me then but they were not roses" comes in glittering grey:

Citing Steinem's My Life on the Road and Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman as inspiration, Gurung dedicated the collection to his mother and her "fight against male chauvinism."

There has always been a strange sense of antagonism between fashion and powerful women, a belief that women must sacrifice femininity to gain power, authority and respect.  I have never understood this notion, and I wouldn’t be doing what I do today if I believed it.

- Prabal Gurung in 2013

It's not the first time Gurung has used his design prowess to dabble in social commentary. Earlier this year he joined a string of big fashion names showing their support for US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by creating T-shirts for her campaign.

'When she breaks the glass ceiling the pieces will heal the wounds of her predecessors," he said in an Instagram post dedicated to the Democrat candidate.

This one might take a while to get through...

Not all the clothes came with a written message:

Front row stars at New York Fashion Week

  • Dylan Lauren, Ricky Lauren, Haley Bennett, Julianne Moore, Liv Freundlich, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Annabelle Wallis and Jessica Alba

    On the front row at Ralph Lauren.

  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

    Velvet isn't going anywhere is it? Rosie's ramping up the '90s theme with a decadent choker and smoky eyeliner at Ralph Lauren.

  • Jessica Alba

    Glamour meets grunge at Ralph Lauren.

  • Julianne Moore

    In a black dress and matching lace trimmed jacket at Ralph Lauren.

  • Christina Hendricks

    Giving good jacket game at Naeem Khan.

  • Karlie Kloss, Toni Garrn, and Romee Strijd

    All going for a pared back look at the Boss Womenswear show.

  • Jerry Hall

    In a sleek check suit for the Marchesa show.

  • Emily Blunt and Sienna Miller

  • Sienna Miller and Anna Wintour

    Caption competition?

    They're sharing a laugh at Michael Kors.

  • Anna Wintour

    In her signature shades on the Kors frow.

  • Alexandra Richards, Theodora Richards, Harley Viera Newton, Jessica Hart and Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and Denmark

    Rockstar royalty and actual royalty, at Michael Kors.

  • Chiara Ferragni

    Providing jumper inspiration at Michael Kors.

  • Olivia Palermo

    Check out those hems, at Michael Kors.

  • Jessica Hart

    Toting a bucket bag, at Michael Kors.

  • Jessic Alba

    We're officially in the market for a little white dress thanks to Jess' Narciso Rodriguez number.

  • Lady Gaga and Naomi Campbell

    Both heading for the front row at Brandon Maxwell.

  • Jasmine Sanders, June Ambrose, Cynthia Erivo, La La Anthony, Emily Ratajkowski and Chloe Sevigny

    All got the LBD memo at Vera Wang.

  • TK Wonder and Cipriana Quann

    Their very own fashion show, on the front row at Reem Acra.

    More: Fashion follow: TK Wonder and Cipriana Quann 

  • Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown

    Keeping it casual, at Coach 1941.

  • Emma Roberts

    Dressed in Coach 1941 SS17 - including those on point accessories - for Tuesday evening's show.

  • Chloe Grace Moretz

    Making her first show appearance of the season in a black leather jacket and matching skirt at Coach 1941.

  • Courtney Love

    In a studded baseball jacket fro the Coach 1941 frow.

  • Jessica Alba

    Waving from the frow at the Tory Burch show on Tuesday morning.

  • Jessica Alba

    In her signature flared jeans and navy mac.

  • Liya Kebede

    In head-to-toe Tory Burch for the show.

  • Uma Thurman

    In a form-fitting black and grey dress for Zac Posen - one of her favourites. 

  • Mischa Barton

    In a sheer black and gold dress at Nolcha.

  • Mia Moretti and singers Lissy Trullie and Kitty Cash

    The trio of DJs are at 3.1 Phillip Lim.

  • Ciara, Anna Wintour, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki

    At the Serena Williams show.

  • Iris Apfel

    Piling on the accessories at Serena Williams Signature Statement Collection By HSN.

  • Martha Hunt, Emily Ratajkowski, and Nina Agdal

    Flying the DKNY flag.

  • Tinashe

    In a long DKNY shirt for the show.

  • Alexa Chung

    Front and centre at Proenza Schouler on Monday.

  • Leigh Lezark

    In a bright rayon knit guitar dress by Jeremy Scott, at Jeremy Scott.

  • Russell Westbrook, Tinashe and Teyonah Parris

    Proof the air-kiss is officially over, at Jeremy Scott.

  • Coco Rocha

    In a bauble embellished knit dress at Jeremy Scott (where else).

  • Karlie Kloss

    In a navy blue knitted crop top with daisy detail and navy palazzo pants at the Carolina Herrera presentation on Monday morning.

  • Malin Ackerman

    Teaming her monochrome print shift dress with a neat top knot and orange lip at Carolina Herrera. 

  • Dascha Polanco

    The Orange Is the New Black star ramps up the glamour at The Blonds in a monochrome print body suit and sweeping hot pink coat.

  • Christina Milian

    Slaying in a dress by The Blonds at the show.

  • Kelly Osbourne, Christina Milian, Dascha Polanco and June Ambrose

    Gramming at The Blonds.

  • Olivia Palermo, Ashley Graham and Caroline Wozniacki

    Sticking to a monochrome palette on the front row at Prabal Gurung.

  • Diana Gordon

    High velvet boots are having a moment at Fashion Week and Diana Gordon's are among our favourite spots on the frow at Prabal Gurung.

  • Zendaya

    In a matching stripey Michael Kors bandeau top and choker with polka dot palazzo pants at the Michael Kors Access party.

  • Jaden Smith and Sarah Snyder

    Hood By Air SS17, aka date night.

  • Jussie Smollett and Naomi Campbell

    Watching Hood By Air.

  • Olivia Palermo

    Mixing her prints for Altuzarra.

  • Priyanka Chopra

    Reigniting our love affair with pink clothing in a dress from Altuzarra's Resort 2017 collection.

  • Lais Ribeiro, Hailey Clauson, Jamie Chung, Sophia Bush, Olivia Culpo, Danielle Snyder, and Cara Santana

    Bringing 100% glamour to the Cushnie Et Ochs frow.

  • Brooklyn Beckham and David Beckham

    On the frow at Victoria Beckham, where else?

    More from the VB SS17 show

  • Madonna

    In Alexander Wang's new unisex range for Adidas Originals, at the designer's celebrity-packed show.

  • Madonna and Lourdes Ciccone Leon

    A sweet mother-daughter moment as the pair take in the surf-inspired collection. 

  • Nicki Minaj

    Embracing the rib knit fabric trend in a black strappy dress at Alexander Wang.

  • Zoe Kravitz

    In a black silk slip dress and belt buckle choker on the front row at Alexander Wang.

  • Tyga and Kylie Jenner

    Kylie's wearing Alexander Wang for the show.

  • Jourdan Dunn

    Who runs the world? At Alexander Wang.

  • Pamela Anderson and Dylan Lee

    In matching black for the Alexander Wang presentation.

  • Rami Malek

    The Mr Robot star is looking sharp on the Wang frow.

  • Tinashe

    Matching her autumn beauty look to this statement AW jacket at Alexander Wang.

  • will i am, Chaelin Lee, Madonna and Skrillex

    Backstage at Wang

  • Alexander Wang and Madonna

    Larking around with the designer's "Wangfest" branded beer hat backstage.

  • Emily Ratajkowski

    In a black textured mini and oversized denim jacket at the Fashion Week launch of Knot On My Planet, a campaign led by model Doutzen Kroes to support the Elephant Crisis Fund.

  • Olivia Palermo

    In a navy blue halter with cutaway shoulders and delicate bead detailing at Jonathan Simkhai.

  • Kylie Jenner and Jordyn Woods

    It's all about the denim for these two at Jonathan Simkhai.

  • FKA Twigs

    Pairing her embellished jeans with a white layered off-shoulder top at Gentle Monster.

  • Christina Hendricks, Pamela Anderson, Neve Campbell, Jaime Alexander and Ashley Graham

    Watching Christian Siriano's show.

  • June Ambrose, Coco Rocha and Kelly Osbourne

    At Christian Siriano.

  • Leigh Lezark

    In a spaghetti strap suede dress and matching cape at Christian Siriano.

  • Camilla Alves and Coco Rocha

    Enjoying Rebecca Minkoff's outdoor presentation.

  • Olivia Palermo

    Olivia chose a maroon palette for the Tibi show, with an off-shoulder peplum top and faux suede maxi skirt - both by the designer.

  • Leigh Lezark

    Reaching for the stars in a plunging spaghetti strap dress at the Harper's bash.

    More on the Harper's Bazaar party

  • Emily Ratajkowski

    In a '90s style cutaway dress at the Daily Front Row Fashion Media Awards.

  • Kaia Gerber and Cindy Crawford

    Mother and daughter both go for sleek black dresses and almost identical strappy heels at the Daily Front Row Fashion Media Awards.

    The 15-year-old won the breakthrough model award.

  • Karlie Kloss

    In a statement red button down dress at the Daily Front Row awards.

  • Adriana Lima and Katie Grand

    Flexing their muscles in matching outfits at the awards bash.

  • Alexa Chung

    Winning a tricky outfit game at Rosetta Getty’s Spring 2017 Collection Celebration.

  • Cindy Crawford

    Is that a '90s dog tag necklace we spy?

    The catwalk legend is teaming it with a peplum jacket at the Brock Collection.

  • Mary J Blige

    Working a structural silhouette at Saks' downtown store opening.

  • Coco Rocha

    Is all about the pockets at Marissa Webb.

  • Alexa Chung and Kitty Cash

    Showing some shoulder at Adam Selman.

  • Alexa Chung and Leigh Lezark

    Attracting a second row photobomber into their selfie at Noon By Noor.

  • Diane Kruger

    Ina dreamy sparkle jumpsuit at the Jimmy Choo 20th anniversary party.

  • Chanel Iman

    A one-sleeve wonder at the Jimmy Choo party.

  • Amber Valletta

    Is statuesque in a sheer tasselled LBD at the Jimmy Choo bash.

  • Taylor Hill

    Sporting another unusual little black dress - topped off with an elegant top knot.

  • Alicia Keys

    In a signature suit, mesh top, blue turban, and of course, no make-up.

  • Naomi Campbell

    Stealing the show at Tom Ford in one of the designer's own creations.

  • Uma Thurman

    Revisits '80s-style puff sleeves with a surprising element of success at Tom Ford.

  • Rita Ora

    Shimmering at Tom Ford.

  • Priyanka Chopra

    Giving floral a good name at Thakoon.

  • Solange Knowles

    Ramping up the '70s vibe with lid-to-brow purple eyeshadow at Creatures of Comfort.

  • Leandra Medine

    Mixing and matching her stripes for a laid-back surfer look at Creatures of Comfort.


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.