“I’m calling this collection ‘Suitcases of the World,’” Prabal Gurung said backstage Sunday night before his fall show. He should know — the Nepalese-American designer spent almost as much time on the road last year as he did at home in New York.
He was in Nepal, India, China and points beyond, and all that globetrotting inspired his latest vision of a glamorous nomad through an immigrant’s lens, because, as he said with characteristic political directness, “We are more alike than we are different.”
The effort resulted in a multi-culti collage of colors and styles, anchored in sporty standards like quilted duvet coats, bombers, safari jackets and cargo pants. Onto that he added hippie-trail artisanal touches like tie-dye, hand-loomed Varanasi brocades and hand-painted Taj Mahal landscapes, as well as layering in the ladylike sophistication of Seventies-era Bill Blass, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix, fashion heroes that surely enthralled a dreamer growing up on the other side of the world.
Gurung is one of New York’s best colorists; case in point, a pink-and-red silk-crepe blouse framed in cascading ruffles, tucked into turquoise high-waisted pleat-front trousers. The pattern play was great, too; this season’s version of his signature draped dress with buttoned waist cutout detail was particularly striking in multiprinted patchwork.
Evening dresses in floral embroidered Lurex; matte jersey with jeweled fringe at the neckline, or floral silk georgette with ostrich feather trim were a feast for the eyes, especially when worn with those extra-long earrings from his Tasaki collab. But all that, plus ribbon-belted silk gazar flounce dresses and houndstooth tailoring proved a bit much on the same runway. One wonders if there may have been more than one collection in those suitcases.