With his business in overdrive—he's just moved his growing team into a sprawling new Garment District studio and showroom—it makes a sort of sense that Prabal Gurung
felt like looking homeward for Spring. The work of the artist Anish Kapoor, in whom Gurung says he sees a kindred subcontinental expat spirit, informed the collection's color palette and prints. And the silhouette—fitted jacket and slouchy pants with a diaphanous little something in between—was, he reports, borrowed from the traditional kurtas that his mother and sister wear at home in Nepal. But this was a bittersweet homecoming.
First, the good. Model Kati Nescher's asymmetric tailcoat and trousers and wispy, kurtalike chiffon tunic had a fresh feel. The outfit will appeal to women looking for a cool alternative to black tie. It was also nice to see Gurung get more familiar with his casual side. The T-shirt emblazoned with a bird's wing that topped a full-to-the-knee skirt had an everyday vibe that he should continue to develop. Sporty separates like contrast-trim tanks and loose, easy pants were also winning.
But Gurung might need a bigger reset than a virtual trip home. Too often you saw reminders on his runway of collections you've witnessed before. Other times, dresses would've benefited from a lighter hand. The Kapoor-influenced spine print combined with red and white ostrich feathers and a smattering of crystals was rather more lurid than we're guessing he intended. We know that Gurung is capable of more restrained elegance; the tailoring at the beginning of the show is proof. It's a country he should revisit for his next time on the runway.