This was a very ambitious collection. The size and mix of this message alone was a big leap forward. It's understandable when you consider the microscope that Prabal lives under with so much promise and little chance for a misstep. That Anna Wintour was sitting in Roger Federer's box at the U.S.Open and not perched on his front row to witness this show was a double fault on her part. Clearly, he appears to be preaching to the choir. I say ambitious also because of the complexity of techniques he employed for many of the dresses and separates that strode down the runway. One technique that was impressive was one that gave the impression of the fabric having been braided. It appeared down the front of a saffron silk crepe dress and on a printed silk top. Beautiful treatments of pailletes like elongated scales placed in asymmetric planes on columns and long skirts mirrored the lines of a group of color blocked dresses and separates. His choice of fabrics and textures were especially effective in setting him apart from many in the pack. Surface decoration whether achieved by ones own imagination and the hands of skilled technicians or the bounty that can be fund at the best of fabric mills in Switzerland (Jakob Schlaepfer) and other countries can make the task that much easier. In some cases the real job is to stay out of the way of the fabrics and embroideries. Let them do their job and leave more than well enough alone. That might be my only complaint. Sometimes Prabal seemed too eager to flex his muscles when the heavy lifting was already done. There were some details that just looked too tricky. This mashing and twisting of fabrics, extraneous slits, and three dimensional appendages just remind me of work one sees from design school students. People rarely cotton to theses styles and they mire work that is memorable. That said, I liked this collection and appreciate his years spent at Bill Blass. Looking at his aesthetic, I can't help but think that the principals at Blass wasted so much time and money betting on lame horses when they had a winner right there in their stables.
images courtesy of Getty.
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