Prabal Gurung’s popularity within the fashion community continues to grow at astounding rates. While there are still a lot of shoppers who are not familiar with this Nepalese-born designer, I full expect that to change as his unique approach begins to influence trends seen elsewhere. Prabal has this very lovely way of blending the influences of his home country with American styles to create a line of clothes unlike anything else one might find in stores.
For spring/summer 2015, Gurung works from a color palette influenced by the Nepalese sky: white, turquoise, lilac, amethyst, navy and sunset coral. While he started the presentation with a set of all white looks, he certainly didn’t stay stuck on the monochrome and before long we were seeing an astonishing array of prints and knits that seemed to involve every one of those colors, and maybe two or three more. Bright? Yes, but not to the point of causing eye strain. Prabal doesn’t pair colors haphazardly, so everything comes together with surprising comfort.
Gurung’s use of fabrics is also widely varied, from knit cotton to cloque jacquard, bleached denim, and just right touches of metallic. To those fabrics Prabal brings his unique sense of cutouts and waterfall layering, with unconstructed lapels and racer backs where they weren’t quite expected, strings floating off as though they might detach themselves and zippers with no functionality but adding to the eclectic look of the collection.
Generally speaking, if one dares speak generally of this collection, most the looks here are rather sporty. There is a tremendous difference in attitude between this collection and what Gurung showed for the fall. Fabrics are lighter, colors are brighter, and there are ruffles all over the place. For the few gowns in the collection, we saw the tiered layered cutout look of which he is so fond over long, and very sheer but flowing skirts. Sexy? Yes, but more because of their attitude than anything else.
Asymmetrical hems lie all over the place and panels and ruffles of contrasting color and materials run counter to each other as though one wasn’t paying attention to the other. These are not boring clothes and are certainly not meant to be worn by boring people. I look at some of the ensembles and wonder just how one is supposed to hang them in the closet. All the layers and cutouts come together with such precision, the artistry of the whole collection is more impressive than some museum installations I’ve seen.
Prabal Gurung is dramatic, motivational, and very, very different from everything else going on in fashion. His innovation both in terms of style and fabrics sets a standard for the future and as his popularity grows I think we’ll see more of his looks on the street. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.
Photo credit: Valerio Mezzanotti