In just four seasons, Prabal Gurung has established himself as anup-and-comer for the dressed-up type, whose friskier side he exploredfor spring. During a preview of the collection, Gurung said that “ratherthan obvious sexy, it’s intelligent sexy.” He certainly put a lot ofthought into the labor-intensive fabrics, such as featherweight cashmereintarsia done in bold color blocks, washed silk duchesse, scubamaterial and rubberized fil coupé. Some he used to elevate a relativelysimple shape — all more body conscious than ever — like a sheathaccented with geometric tulle inserts, or the gorgeous ivory tailoredcoat done in strips of silk faille. But often Gurung took the craftinesstoo far with raffialike fringe and tricky folds. Also not a completesuccess was the dominant hemline, which fell well below the knee. If itlent a level of sophistication to some of the dresses that, cut short,could have gone cheesy, it often looked awkward and didn’t pair wellwith the amply ankle-strapped shoes. Those, on the other hand, theproduct of Gurung’s first collaboration with Nicholas Kirkwood, were theperfect fit for a sexy, smart lady.

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