Sometime about a year ago, Prabal Gurung got the urge to go edgy. There’s been a marked difference in his aesthetic, which began in the fresh-out-of-Bill Blass school of polished cocktail dressing and has since veered in the direction of engineered prints and extreme cuts. At times, it has felt more like an identity crisis than an evolution, but the spring collection he showed Saturday helped solidify the edgy look he’s embracing while also emphasizing the kind of beautiful dresses that got him noticed in the first place.
“I wanted to propose the idea of ease for cocktail,” said Gurung after the show. “It’s not about body-con, but slacking away from the body, something more gentle.” A standout silhouette featured a dropped waist with full skirts that fell to the knee and sporty shell tops tipped in black and white. Worked in lace and feather treatments — soft embroideries and harder skeletal prints — the look nailed the “tension” between pretty and subversive that Gurung hoped to convey. He had been looking at the work of Anish Kapoor, which turned him on to the collection’s colors — red, silver and black — and got him thinking about how women dress in the Eastern world, where Kapoor (India) and Gurung (Nepal) grew up. Those art and ethnic references played out in silk georgette and chiffon tunics and cape effects that were layered into bold tailoring. There were shorts, trousers and jackets for day and night, where Gurung offered dramatic tailoring — embroidered tailcoats and sleeveless jackets — layered with long silk tops that trailed off over pants cropped just above his statement shoes, done in collaboration with Casadei.