Prabal Gurung is a very clever and gifted man. Unlike many he chose to show his Spring 2010 collection in a gallery space downtown. The collection was a still life of elegantly tailored and draped styles. Considering this is his second collection it's fully formed and mature in its execution. There was little about it that felt tentative. Prabal has a clear vision and a capable hand to realize exactly the message he intends. Many other young designers with more seasons behind them still feel as though they are in search of a voice, where Prabal speaks clearly and with authority. I read somewhere that he was on the verge. I disagree. Prabal Gurung is a designer with a clear point of view: elegant, cool, modern and timeless in an 'of the moment' way. That's as good as it gets at any level. That translates to clothes with staying power.
Fashion is an investment and the clothes better say today, tomorrow and the future. The collection spoke to those criteria. The focus is clearly Designer, clearly evening and all the degrees of night. There was a very sleek and artless black chiffon bibbed blouse with a shredded ruffle and armholes that were open giving a peek at the shoulder. The very sexy blouse was
tucked into champagne crepe satin trousers. The look was complete with a minimum of detail and fuss. Just chic, young and clear. This was a look that would work for any woman who wants to be dressed, only not in a dress.
There were a group of satin organza cocktail dresses with hand painted abstract floral motifs. These dresses were absolutely beautiful. One in particular was masterfully draped and said it all as though it came to him fully realized. Its simplicity spoke volumes, the work of a designer with a sure hand. That assured approach informed just about every dress in the presentation.
From matte jersey to silk crepe to organza there wasn't one silhouette that daunted his technique. The success of the collection lay in his ability to create clothes that did the thing I love best. They elevate women without overwhelming them. In that way any woman's innate beauty is magnified. A languid column in a saturated blue and one in red with contrasting black were some of the most captivating. This was drama that reads like poetry.
An evening suit of cream silk with one lapel decorated with a single bow was dramatic in its refusal to overstate. Prabal understands the fine line between enough and too much. Horse hair wrapped another cream silk sheath creating a graphic, snaking stripe. He played with graphic black dots on white in another artfully draped dress with an exuberant bow on it's bodice.
Still life presentations are gutsy because the viewer actually sees the quality of the fabrics, the technique of drape and cut and most importantly the beauty of the construction. Runways can mask the pluses and minuses as the clothes saunter by. We were all able to see the artistry that this collection embodies. I went away with one wish only, and that was to see even more. This was like a great story you don't want to end.
Why use the whole alphabet when the first letter says it all?
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