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Prabal Gurung

“Something opulent with something stark.” Prabal Gurung took inspiration this season from an exhibition of the Korean artist Lee Ufan’s work at Versailles. Ufan’s enormous boulders set on steel plates against the backdrop of Louis XIV’s palace made a compelling metaphor for the designer’s new collection. After a Spring show that erred on the side of hyperbole, he was keen, he said, to “retain the fabric research and expensive materials, but make clothes that are slightly easier to wear.” Enter the kimono-style jacket that opens his lookbook. The mohair polka dot it was cut in said “special,” but it slipped on as easy as a cardigan, with ties at the back for an adjustable fit. He paired the kimono with flares. There was no shortage of them in the lineup, another indication of his desire to play it cool. Of course, Gurung’s bread and butter, what he’s known for, is his fancier fare. The good news is he demonstrated savvy restraint with his cocktail numbers, too. Sure, his LBDs came embellished, but the handwork was done tone-on-tone, or in crisp black and white. They’ll be finding their way onto starlets and red carpets in no time. Gurung is Nepali, and he’s recently begun working with craftspeople in his home country. The unconstructed, handwoven shawl vest he had made there was something new for him—artisanal where his clothes are usually more slick. It will be interesting to see where the project takes him.

—Nicole Phelps,

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