After a mere year in business, Prabal Gurung has attracted tons of attention — editorial, retail and celebrity alike. It’s a lot to live up to in so short a time, and the pressure to keep things interesting is tremendous. In the collection he showed on Saturday, Gurung at times made things a little too interesting, but the intrepid spirit thus displayed more than made up for the obvious growing pains.
What was so refreshing about the designer’s first collection a year ago was its high-style polish delivered with a knowing touch of restraint. This season, that control sometimes gave way to overzealous cuts worked with too-complicated folds and flounces. These came structured and soft, as Gurung played with notions of speed and motion, inspired in part by East Village bikers. But vroom-vroom chic is not his milieu, and some looks felt forced. Not so, however, when he let up a bit, as with a lovely white, black and gray dress gathered on one shoulder, or a more girlish froth of black-and-white ruffles.
Yet it was when Gurung shifted gears more obviously that he was at his best. Case in point: his coats, including a color-blocked wool and a pair of sheared minks, one under a lush fox capelet. In these he streamlined his glamorous sensibility without tempering it, and the results were sensational.