Prabal Gurung Plays with Light and Dark (With a Dash of O’Keefe) for Fall

The designer created a very personal collection for Fall 2012 that played with the light and dark sides of human nature, with a healthy dash of gold thrown in for good measure.

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A runway look from Prabal Gurung's Fall 2012 collection.
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For Fall 2012, of-the-instant designer Prabal Gurung showed what he described as a very personal collection that he felt dealt with the light and dark sides of human nature.
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With actress Zoe Saldana in the front row, one couldn't help taking a second glance at each of the collection's elaborate gowns and wondering if the actress -- who has taken fashion risks in the past -- might be on the hunt for an Oscars gown.
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Backstage, Gurung told us: "For the first time, I'm dealing with a little bit of a dark side, and when I opened the door just a little bit, it brought out all the emotions. Because, you know, who we are is the ghost of our past, and learning to deal with it. And the most optimistic way has been in a cathartic experience -- through fashion."
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The collection itself evolved from dark to light looks, starting with a parade of all-brunette models wearing all-black looks, some topped off with Philip Treacy hats that were what Gurung described as "a hybrid of a visor and an archbishop's hat."
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As the collection progressed, a rich blue hue began to creep into the looks.
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Gurung told us that the inspiration initially started with "the invention of the blue rose in Japan." As he put it, "This invention made it one of the most covetable flowers. The uncursing of the rose is what was a starting point for me -- creating something new, inventing something new." (Accordingly, Gurung's show was titled "Uncursed.")
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Close-up, some of the elaborate prints -- which felt like a continuation of the purple prints Gurung created for his Spring 2012 collection -- featured Georgia O'Keefe-inspired cow skulls.
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A textured blue cocktail dress with black feather embroidery.
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This jaw-dropping sheer black dress -- nearly completely covered in glittering embroidery -- held the gaze of more than a few attendants on the front row, including Zoe Saldana, who followed it all the way down the runway.
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Soon, the collection moved into softer, lighter looks. "The dark side is more about shapes and structures," said Gurung. "Then they turn into a limber blue, which turns to white ... With the white, I wanted to create a halo effect of textures and patterns."
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A sheer black top with dazzling embroidery and a feathered skirt, worn over slim black pants.
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A sheer minidress with glittering black embellishments.
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A gold, swirling floral print adorns a white pant-suit with exaggerated sleeves.
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A similar print on a long-sleeve dress is festooned with sheer ruffles.
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Cream-colored roses top off a sheer shirt, paired with a full skirt covered in white feathers.
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A tinsel-like bronze coat covers a white-and-gold skirt. The belt buckle echoes the rest of the jewelry by Fenton, which plays with the cow skull theme.
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A long white gown with sheer, embellished panels and a warrior-like choker by Fenton.
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A sheer white gown festooned with all manner of embellishments, from gold embroidery to pearl-like beads to feathers.
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One of the runway's most eye-catching gowns, rendered in head-to-toe gold lame.
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