In just four seasons, Prabal Gurung has established himself as an up-and-comer for the dressed-up type, whose friskier side he explored for spring. During a preview of the collection, Gurung said that “rather than obvious sexy, it’s intelligent sexy.” He certainly put a lot of thought into the labor-intensive fabrics, such as featherweight cashmere intarsia done in bold color blocks, washed silk duchesse, scuba material and rubberized fil coupé. Some he used to elevate a relatively simple shape — all more body conscious than ever — like a sheath accented with geometric tulle inserts, or the gorgeous ivory tailored coat done in strips of silk faille. But often Gurung took the craftiness too far with raffialike fringe and tricky folds. Also not a complete success was the dominant hemline, which fell well below the knee. If it lent a level of sophistication to some of the dresses that, cut short, could have gone cheesy, it often looked awkward and didn’t pair well with the amply ankle-strapped shoes. Those, on the other hand, the product of Gurung’s first collaboration with Nicholas Kirkwood, were the perfect fit for a sexy, smart lady.

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