For spring 2014 his muse was Marilyn Monroe. "It's a celebration of the elegant woman; she's becoming an endangered species," Prabal Gurung said before his show. "I wanted to put her in a modern context." Gurung's idealized creature this season comes with a bite. Monroe's last sitting with Bert Stern was on his mood board. And roses. "They're beautiful for their looks," he said, "but also their thorns."
Here was something great about the pencil-skirted, calf-length, spindly-heeled proportions Prabal Gurung chose to reiterate in punchily colored red, grass green, parma violet, pistachio, turquoise, and pink. On a beautiful woman with more human curves than the average six foot tall ironing-board mannequin, these looks will supply the kind of wiggle-in-the-walk, cup-runneth-over amplitude to keep males mesmerized.
Raf Simons' recent collections, the fifties-moderne lead at Christian Dior. were an undeniable influence here. Gurung might never lead the fashion conversation like the Belgian who is now running Dior. The way Gurung caught up 3-D roses into bodies and halter necks, patchworked pencil skirts in leather, and successfully sculpted bra-topped cocktails and evening dresses from heavy duchesse satin and chiffon was impressive. At times, the increasingly accomplished Gurung does suffer from trying too hard. He could dial back on the complicated harness-back details, for instance, and easily win over lots more customers. Kudos to him, though, for working so hard so surpass himself each season.
Some of the plastic pieces were too futuristic and experimental for their own good, - try sitting down in a PVC pencil skirt. But Gurung got into a groove with the final third of his show. The quartet of strapless satin numbers with exposed corsets and cascades of ruffles down the back were a riposte to the insipid red-carpet fare Hollywood tends to favor. And it will be a very lucky girl who gets to wear his white-and-black sweetheart gown with the exuberant sash at the waist.
The conventions of fashion shows have their limits, one of them being that models trot by the audience at such a clip that in real time, it’s pretty impossible to contemplate the workmanship until the part of the service where all the girls come out at the same time for the finale walk-around, and even then you can end up with whiplash from trying to keep up. Prabal Gurung cleverly disrupted those proceedings today by sending all of his girls at once, at the beginning, and having them stand in two rows, facing the audience under great lighting, so that every aspect of his hyper-colored, hyper-worked, floral-splashed fifties-accented collection was under scrutiny for the duration of the show. “You know, what we do takes so long to make, I really wanted to let people see it,” Gurung said. The slightly creepy twist was that the girls were standing stock-still behind transparent plastic curtains before they broke off, one by one, to circulate the runway.
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo credit/Source: VOGUE
Backstage: Photography by Taylor Jewell
Runway: Photography by Marcus Tondo / InDigitalimages.com
Details: Photography by Gianni Pucci / InDigitalimages.com
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