Upon arrival for the Prabal Gurung spring/summer 2014 exhibition, one knew that this was going to be a different kind of show. Hanging in the middle of the runway was what appeared to be a very large shower curtain; two large pieces of clear plastic hung from the ceiling. The music was soft and elegant. Then, the lights flashed like lightening and between the plastic stood two rows of models looking very much like a collection of dolls. As the lights came up, the models exited the plastic in turn, navigated the catwalk, and then returned to their place, standing motionless until the end of the show. It was a very different, very surreal setting for what has been, so far, the most elegant collection of the season.
Of course, elegance is what we expect from Prabal Gurung. The Singapre-born, Kathmandu-raised designer has made his eponymous brand a standard on red carpets around the world. His gowns are nothing short of exquisite and the ones shown in this collection quite possibly top anything he’s ever done.
Throughout the collection, there is a feeling of old school elegance. Surely, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe would have approved of these dresses. Glittering, exquisitely tailored, the solids shimmer and the floral prints sparkle as though covered with dew. Yet, there is also a sense of modernity with clear plastic overcoats and even clear plastic panels in some of the skirts. Unique, to be sure, but not distasteful or inappropriate at any point.
The color palette ranges from beautiful whites to a full range of blues, reds, mint green, lavender, and touches of yellow. Black rarely appears as more than a background color until he gets to the gowns where it is rather expected.
What challenges the Midwestern woman when deciding whether to add any Prabal Gurung to her wardrobe is whether she will have anywhere to actually wear the piece. Formal or cocktail, these are all event dresses that are meant to be seen and appreciated. Wearing them in a casual environment would be ostentatious. For those occasions where one has reason to be glamorous, however, Prabal Gurung is likely to be the best choice one could make. Unfortunately, there aren’t a large number of Midwest retailers who carry the brand. Chicago and Nashville are likely to be the more reasonable choices. A full list is available on the designer’s web site.