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Prabal Gurung Talks Target Collab: "I Want People To Feel Happy!"

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The designer with a look from the 80-piece collection
The designer with a look from the 80-piece collection

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Prabal Gurung's collection for Target will likely be the collab hit of spring. And though the lookbook still isn't out yet, Target hosted an editor's preview last night, so we were able to check out the collection in all of its floral glory. It's fun, with lots of the vibrant prints the designer is known for, cheery tropical hues, and a handful of very chic and wearable standout sandals (some of which you can already peep in this preview video). We chatted with the Singapore-born, Nepal-raised designer, who is just as charming and upbeat in person as his designs. Here's what he had to say:

Racked: The first thing we notice here all the different interpretations of florals. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Prabal Gurung: You know, the whole collection was based on the idea of love and just the idea of celebration. What I wanted people to feel was just a little bit, you know, happy about it! Floral for me is perfect for a spring collection. Receiving flowers, smelling flowers. I don't know—it just makes us all happy!

Racked: Are you a big flower giver?
Prabal Gurung: I am! Whenever I can afford it.

Racked: Obviously this is Target's umpteenth designer collaboration. How do you feel about collabs at this point? Do you think they're still relevant?
Prabal Gurung: You know, this is what it is. I'll tell you. When it's the right match, I think it makes sense. I think it all depends on the partnership. There's still a relevance factor, otherwise people wouldn't be doing it. Target were the pioneers of starting a collaboration like this, and for me personally, what I have done in three and half years since I started, this is like the benchmark that as a new designer you want to keep. The audience that they have, hundreds of millions! As you grow your brand, what you want to do is increase brand familiarity. A Target customer in their teens at this point may not have the means to buy my original clothes. What I would like to think is that they aspire to do better for themselves, and then owning one of my pieces in my original collection becomes, you know, one of their goals. So I just think that the very fact that it's Target, and the very fact that they reached out to me, I just thought that it was the perfect thing.

Racked: For the people shopping this collaboration who might not know a lot about your original collection, what are some of the characteristics as a designer you'd like them to understand about you?
Prabal Gurung: I think at the end of the day, my collection always talks about making women look beautiful, making girls look beautiful, and that's what it is. It's not about being too trendy. In the general aesthetic of prints, it's about graphic details. Basically modern femininity, with just a little bit of twist, a little bit of edge is what I'm known for. And I think they'll get a sense of that.

Racked: The collection for Target feels a little bit short, a little bit young. Was that intentional?
Prabal Gurung: Yes it is, it is, definitely. If you look at the pieces here, for instance that short suit [gestures toward a model wearing the vibrant short-and-jacket combo in a tropical-hued digital floral print pictured here] is something that I always do, even in my own collection. Sometimes we show it on the runway. These are all reminiscent of what I do normally. So it's very much taking my aesthetic and keeping the Target audience in mind.

Racked: You're really growing in a lot of different ways at this point. In addition to your original collection, you're designing for ICB, and now this mass market collaboration. So where do you see your brand going next?
Prabal Gurung: You know, as a brand it's been three and a half years since I started. The goal for me, what I'm interested in is the longevity of my business. These are all the stepping stones to where I want to go. I want to grow at a healthy pace that's going to allow me to do what I have dreamt of for a long time. There are still numerous dreams to be achieved!

Racked: Are you a spring person or a winter person?
Prabal Gurung: I'm a season of love and happy person.

Racked: So what's going to get you through this winter?
Prabal Gurung: My family! They are visiting, so I am excited about that.

The 80-piece range will include ready-to-wear from $19.99 to $199.99 plus handbags, shoes, and jewelry for $12.99 to $39.99, and will be available in Target stores and on on February 10, 2013.

· Feel Prabal Gurung's Love in This Target Video, Plus See Like Four Sleeves and a Shoe From the Collection [Racked]
· Next Up for Collaboration Nation: Prabal Gurung for Target [Racked]
· How Do You Say: "Prabal Gurung" [Racked]