Last season, Prabal Gurung dipped his foot into sportier than usualwaters; apparently he decided that pool’s not for him. For fall he againembraced a dressier mood, yet not one that drew a straight line back tothe ladified retro of his initial fame. The difference proveddelightful. A pink-and beige stucco runway set the mood for a lineupderived from twin inspirations: John Singer Sargent’s “A Parisian BeggarGirl,” and that infamous, sun-shunning shut-in Miss Havisham whoout-Edies both Edie Beales. Gurung loved “Great Expectations” growingup, and for this show he wanted to portray “the precursorcharacteristics” that led the tragic-batty Miss H. to “unravel in such acrazy way.” Translation: a current of eccentricity, that infusedGurung’s polished lady fare with a newfound youth and modernity. Itshowed up in shocks of color — a vermilion blouse over tight fuchsiapants — and in the air of pretty dishabille with which the clothes wereworn; for example, the sleeve of a rumpled silk party dress falling offof Karlie Kloss’s shoulder.

This sense of his character’sinvoluntary risk-taking (in fact, Gurung was in complete control)allowed the designer to unify a disparate array of looks — high-glam foxand chiffon; racy lacy pants; a harness over a froth of angelicfeathers — into a collection filled with personality. And if once ortwice he went too far, overall, it was a pleasure to view suchdistinctive, pretty clothes that will entice even ultra-proper types toindulge in a bit of chic unraveling.

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