Saturday, September 10, 2011
Prabal Gurung S2012: Command Performance
This collection is a major step forward. For the past two years Prabal Gurung has been lauded as one of the most promising new designers on the scene. Unfortunately, so much of that noise has been a distraction. Experiments in the past with tricky cuts and even trickier construction have overshadowed an aesthetic that is more sophisticated and salable than his contemporaries. Unlike many of these young designer conscripts, Prabal seems to be one who genuinely loves the work as much or more than the annoying pose. This collection shows that he, more than most, has what it takes to command attention. His Rorschach print is a welcome departure from the stock digital rose prints that have spread like weeds throughout many collections. He echoes it with abstract embroideries that snake and mirror across surfaces of dresses and trousers. His tailored pieces are every bit as strong as his dresses and gowns that are divided by wedges of tulle inlaid in silk crepe and satin. He uses tough fabrics which can only be tamed by precise cut, fit and workmanship. Unlike outings in the past where the fit was sometimes less than precise, he has gotten that pesky detail firmly in hand. The tricks of his cut now create wonderful shapes that flirt with the body. You see traces of Beene and Rucci in these cuts but they remain his own. The mix of elements is exciting to see as though he is at ease with the complex as much as with the straight forward. What satisfies the most is his maturity and singular message. Luxury doesn't depend on rote messages from old masters and is also not the exclusive domain of the French. I think the heir to the old guard here is Prabal. It isn't who you dress but what you make that matters. The ultimate test is the selling floor and not the cover of a magazine. I wish him luck. He deserves it.