Prior to this evening’s show, Prabal Gurung took a picture on the sidewalk with his mother. “My hero,” he called her.
In his notes, Gurung says that the designs for this collection were inspired by Gloria Steinham. He’s dressed both First Lady Michelle Obama as well as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
So, when Gurung titles his spring/summer collection “Phenomenal Women For Spring,” we can safely assume he’s created a set of clothes not only for the phenomenal women he’s known but all the phenomenal women he’s never met. The collection attractively moves from daywear, to evening wear, and into formal wear with a smoothness that glides along soft, feminine lines without giving into stereotype.
Everywhere one looks through this collection one sees a sense of refinement. Gurung’s women are strong, intelligent, and not given to nonsense. When we see an oversized sweater knit with floral patterns and hanging off a shoulder, it is paired with a flowing asymmetrical skirt or well-fitting slacks, unlaced and flared open just above the ankles. Dresses have sharp lines on the bodice, the kind a wrinkle dare not touch, but the skirts either repeat the asymmetrical look or go with a loose, strappy look that enjoys movement. There are ruffles and flounces and even a couple of printed tees, but nothing is overdone or overstated.
There is a maturity to this collection, both in terms of aesthetics and design. While some labels push toward androgyny, the clothes here are unapologetically feminine, but in an adult sense that is not flirty or capricious. Other labels have strongly invoked a sense of sensuality and blatant sex appeal, but Gurung’s woman is strong, her sensuality showing through her attitude more than her clothes. Gurung’s woman is not defined by her clothes but one who chooses clothing based on her definition of herself. There is no element of condescension, no apologies for being gender-specific.
Prabal’s mother beamed and nodded in agreement as her son’s designs passed by. This is a collection created with strong women in mind. Gurung’s appreciation of phenomenal women results in one of the most mature and beautiful collections of his career.