NEW YORK, United States — Designers need a raison d’être and Prabal Gurung is well aware of his: to outfit ladies whose social agendas stretch well past lunch and into cocktail hour. It’s a brief that Gurung approached with ease, presenting a collection full of occasion wear that ran a gamut of gorgeous fabrications, realised in a land that utility forgot.
Dusting a gauzy turtleneck with tiny, down-like feather embroidery and elongating a cable knit into a snuggly, futuristic sweater dress were two of the designer’s best tricks, which stood out amongst a plethora of shearling-dosed parka coats and fluted cocktail midi-dresses with undone button hems (the feathers returned as a satin jacquard).
A few pairs of tricky trousers spiralled with fabric-covered loops and buttons, writing out a theme that the designer plumbed heavily — in fact, they seemed to rip apart the majority of his cocktail dresses in vertical and horizontal splits — to varying degrees of success. On a long-sleeved scarlet sheath it was traffic-stopping, though in bias-cut maroon satin or metallic jacquard the effect lost its graphic allure. One couldn't help recall the velvet numbers Christopher Kane sent out at his first Kering-backed show in 2013, however as a nod to deconstruction the technique worked, and gave a new sense of flou to Gurung’s at-times ingrained sense of structure. Other textured and devoré velvet pieces felt ungainly, yet despite a cocktail mishap or two, this collection diminished none of the designer's flair for the red carpet. He demonstrated that with a closing quartet of bugle-beaded gowns: they glittered and chimed with a feast of embroidery, offering the same high-impact glamour as the shivering intarsia fur coats that came before them.