After a mere year in business, Prabal Gurung has attracted tons ofattention — editorial, retail and celebrity alike. It’s a lot to live upto in so short a time, and the pressure to keep things interesting istremendous. In the collection he showed on Saturday, Gurung at timesmade things a little too interesting, but the intrepid spirit thusdisplayed more than made up for the obvious growing pains.

Whatwas so refreshing about the designer’s first collection a year ago wasits high-style polish delivered with a knowing touch of restraint. Thisseason, that control sometimes gave way to overzealous cuts worked withtoo-complicated folds and flounces. These came structured and soft, asGurung played with notions of speed and motion, inspired in part by EastVillage bikers. But vroom-vroom chic is not his milieu, and some looksfelt forced. Not so, however, when he let up a bit, as with a lovelywhite, black and gray dress gathered on one shoulder, or a more girlishfroth of black-and-white ruffles.

Yet it was when Gurungshifted gears more obviously that he was at his best. Case in point: hiscoats, including a color-blocked wool and a pair of sheared minks, oneunder a lush fox capelet. In these he streamlined his glamoroussensibility without tempering it, and the results were sensational.

 

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