NYFW AW’14- Prabal Almost Out of His Element

From the very first moment I saw one of Prabal Gurung’s creations, one that episode of The City where he asked Olivia Palermo to wear that dress, I fell in love with him. He knows how to dress a woman but most importantlly he LOVES to dress a woman. Lives for it. Although in past collections Prabal has sometimes come across as trying to hard to be edgy and a little too on the nose with the reference, this collection was quite satisfactory because he was able to redirect our impressions of his work. For the most part.

Referencing one of the last remaining Shangri-Las, the Kingdom of Mustang, in his hometown of Nepal, the designer sent models down the runway wrapped up in blanket-esque scarves, chunky knits on evening wear, loose and baggy sweaters. The emphasis on sportswear was a particularly fresh and bold step right outside the box for Gurung, a man famous for churning out slinky and edgy evening wear, you just have to look at a few pictures of Zoe Saldana his unofficial muse, to understand why this new reference is such a welcome surprise. Gurung sought to provide a palatable balance by playing with textures; thick wool wraps on thickly woven sweaters with soft tulles, silks and chiffon peaking through.

As quickly as he had me at hello, he lost me at the silk panelling on the tailored suits, I couldn’t get my head round it, it felt disconnected to the rest of the show and I didn’t like it, despite the flair and attitude it gave. I wasn’t too crazy about the splashy print either and things fell flat with wrap arounds that looked even more uncomfortable on the models.

But he got me back onside with the turtle necked evening wear; lashings of embroidery, curtains of chiffon and flashes of skin, and of course Gurung’s signature sex appeal. He’s getting there, he’s almost getting there.