Monday 13 February 2012

NYFW | Red-Carpet Dramatics by Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung Fall/Winter 2012/13

There was always been an emotional thread running through the bold, feminine prints emblazoned onto luxurious fabrics and structural silhouettes in Prabal Gurung's collections and, that was never more true than this fall. Three seemingly unassociated but equally romantic works - Jan van Eyck's haunting, religious oil paintings, Georgia O'Keeffe's famed image of an ethereal, decaying cow skull, and a genetically engineered blue rose (successfully invented for the first time back in 2004 and which, in Gurung's mind, reverses the previously overexposed connotations of the natural rouge flower) - were pulled together by the designer into one achingly amorous theme. "I was inspired by the process of creating something new. Part of it was the uncursing of the rose and part of it was spiritual," explains Gurung, who grew up in a Hindu and Buddhist environment back in Nepal before attending Catholic school. "I tend to look at design as a catheartic experience; a lot of love and soul is in there," he says.

Enjoy Prabal Gurung Fall 2012/13 Fashion Show at the end of this post! LoL, Andrea

Whatever unfolded on Saturday's runway as the result of Gurung's profoundly honest and gentle soul searching is yet to be seen. But perhaps a virginal ivory knee-length dress, cut elegantly from silk wool with buoyant, organza ruffles serves as a hopeful glimmer.

A moment here to take stock of the current position of New York Fashion Week, and the transformation it's undergone in the space of a decade. In the frantic rush to critic who's doing what season by season, it's easy to forget how, ten years back, just after 9/11, there was virtually no young designer scene in New York. Proenza Schouler was just starting out, and that was it. Those who were struggling to find a place amongst the senior establishment giants were in no position to even dream of connecting with an international audience, which would be actively seeking their clothes and listening to their point of view. Now, in spite of the recession, there are dreams in New York - dreams which are hitting critical mass for a whole new generation of talent set on a course of daring and expansion.

This season, that quantum leap is really hitting home: designers like Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, and Prabal Gurung, who have stepped over te threshold into a global era where they're stretching themselves with an American ambition not seen since Donna, Calvin, and Ralph were new. The scale of Prabal Gurung's show is a perfect illustration of that generation jump in confidence. As a runner-up in the CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund who's being mentored by Carolina Herrera, he added pre-collection to his business in 2011, has been appointed chief designer at ICB, and doubled the number of stores he's selling to, from 30 to 60. Just as an indication: Lane Crawford's Sarah Rutson told that her Chinese customers e-mailed her clamoring for looks hours after his spring show. What he now knows: "Chinese customers love beautiful, well-made, intricate stuff."

So Gurung upped the ante for fall, showing an extensive collection which ranged from sharp tailoring in black, sliced with black patent leather and elaborately worked fur, through printed and embellished dresses in blues, and on into beaded gowns and red-carpet dramatics. From the point of view of range, it demonstrated his ability to cover bases, and his skills in cutting - narrow, etiolated neoprene pants, great coats, slashed sleeves, and stiff, gored skirts. He is also increasingly masterful at constructing a modern beaded dress - a sheers dress, embroidered with jet, worn by Joan Smalls, was stunning. Yet for any young designer making his or her way in the world, there's also the question of coherence of vision to be attended to. At this stage of the game, with the world's knowing eyes upon him, anything which shows the influence of other designers should hit the cutting room floor (an indebtedness to Riccardo Tsici was inescapable this season). Sometimes, the fact is that is displays even greater confidence to show less and condense more. As he steps up to the next level, this sensitive and skilled talent needs to speak wit his own purely original voice. From what we here see, it's clear he has the potential.

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories

Photo Credit/Source: VOGUE
Photography by Marcio Madeira/firstView

Enjoy my previous Prabal Gurung post - 

Spring/Summer 2012 Collection


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