The opening series made you sit up and take notice. A sky blue, poppy, and saffron half-sleeve color-blocked sweater dress had a wow factor, ditto the white scuba stretch mid-calf sheath expertly inset with contrasting arabesques of duchesse silk that appeared a few looks later. His collection is just over a year-and-a-half old, but Prabal Gurung's no novice when it comes to cut. On the contrary, after five years in the atelier at Bill Blass, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nominee is a bit of a stickler, obsessing over details like a flesh-colored zipper on a partially sheer evening dress (so it disappears against the skin) and hand-sewn—not glued—interfacing within the lining of a peplum motorcycle jacket (to better keep its shape). It's the kind of perfectionism that's made the designer a favorite with much-photographed celebrities, not to mention First Lady Michelle Obama, for whom every angle counts.

There was plenty here to keep the boldfacers coming back for more, from a narrow cocktail dress in sand-colored silk crepe—its draped and tucked bodice like the petals of a rose—to the bright finale gowns that played opaque against sheer in the style of the great Geoffrey Beene. A few of the other evening numbers were weighed down by embellishments like black seam tape fringe or rubberized fils coupés, and looked fussy in comparison to, say, Gurung's sky blue draped halter top and elongated pencil skirt in saffron technical mesh. If he skips the froufrou next time, he could hit it out of the park.