Prabal Gurung's fall collection started off somber, dark, and restrained, with 14 straight all-black looks. But the models' eye makeup — a shimmery peacock blue — hinted at the delight of color to come. The show unfolded precisely, an ordered progression from darkness to light. You could see Gurung introducing his ideas, one by one, and they made for some beautiful clothes. Tailored, hip-slung, skinny flared pants were sexy. So were the dramatic gowns, particularly the black gown in embellished tulle worn by Jourdan Dunn.
After diving into an oily blue-green, the show turned gold and white and embellished. The show grew increasingly spiritual towards the end, with lots of references to traditional iconography. In that Gothic inclination, Gurung was somewhat derivative of the Givenchy designer, Riccardo Tisci — and there were notes of Alexander McQueen in certain of the looks, too. (Cathy Horyn wrote that Gurung "styles up his feline prettiness to being within a whisker of a Givenchy show.")
Gurung's digital prints this season referenced Georgia O'Keeffe in her Southwestern period, with cow skulls appearing on his dresses (could Gurung have been influenced by the recent Met show on Alfred Stieglitz and O'Keeffe?). There were also cow skulls cast in gold on the faintly harness-like leather belts; another nod to the body, death, and rebirth.
A few of the looks were too fussy — too many tulle insertions, too many ostrich feathers, too many gores, too much weird, metallicized neoprene, or at least, too many of the above in the context of those busy prints and that heavy embellishment — and there were some flounces at the neck that gave an unfortunate Pierrot effect.
But many of these dresses ought to be destined for the red carpet. Doubtless that was on the mind of Zoe Saldana, who was sitting front-row next to the supermodel Coco Rocha and the socialite Michelle Harper. Just before the show began, Bill Cunningham took a picture of the actress's shoes. Just her shoes. "Those shoes!" he exclaimed.