From his trip to Burning Man, Manish Arora brought back a visual souvenir that lit the third day of Paris’ RTW presentation as surely as the sun over the Nevada desert. At first, the clear blue skies peppered with fluffy clouds came in the form of digitally printed dresses, one with a loose top, the next with a cardigan and trompe-l’oeil waspy at the waist, followed by another paired with a babydoll overcoat. He then segued into groups of hot brights.
There was a sense of relaxedness to the collection, as he alternated form-skimming dresses with looser proportions, figure enhancing peplums. His Indian heritage became the condiment that pulled it all together. The geometries of the visual bonanza that is the art festival translated into a multitude of prints, the lines slashing across fabric, black & white, tonal greens and embellished with a myriad of small shapes in the place of sequins. As the sunlight dips over the horizon, the bright neons of the festival’s night reveal more of Arora’s memories, chains forming patterns, or tiny discreet elements clustered together to highlight an hourglass shape on a tulip skirted dress, or forming the word EGO on another outfit. “Each element is specially etched, embossed and laser cut. All my memories of Burning Man are there, the word LOVE, the bicycle –an essential there!” he explained backstage after the show, as he was being congratulated by the likes of Catherine Baba, enthusiastically examining a leather turban. “When they form the word EGO, it was actually taken from an installation there that was about burning your ego. I was trying to be more realistic. I thought,’ let people have what they want’.”
It was that thought that made Arora hit gold, as he had sidestepped into something more commercial, in the best sense of the word, he delivered a season that will satisfy editors and buyers alike. Thank you for the postcard, Mr Arora!
- Lily Templeton