September 09, 2011 New York
For Spring, though, Gurung is pushing beyond his comfort zone. Inspired by Araki's Sensual Flowers series, he collaborated with a printmaker in London to create a floral motif at once beautiful and lurid: Close inspection of the purple, green, and black blooms revealed that they were already withering. The engineered print appeared on everything from a silk georgette dress, accessorized with a black leather and silk cord harness, to a fitted wool pantsuit, neither that unlike things he's done before. But when he wasn't using the print, Gurung was tweaking fetish materials—hand-painting and lacquering latex for a coat, or lining a laser-cut leather T-shirt in mesh. It was more than a lot to take in. Peekaboo, too, was a central conceit: Sheer panels were inset at the waist or hips of dresses, and other items were more see-through tulle than anything else.
What does this mean for the SJPs of the world? There were pieces here that the celebrity set will connect with: a long-sleeved, violet lace gown with rubber paillettes; a pair of sharply tailored silk jackets with sculpted lapels. Other numbers could be adjusted to make them more discreet. Gurung gets a cheer for his ambition this time around, but a bit more simplicity wouldn't have been such a bad thing.