Manish Arora Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2013 Paris
Designing a collection inspired by one’s culture and sartorial heritage is a double jeopardy: too strong a hand, and the affair turns into a caricature; too light a hand and the reference could end up being entirely missed.
So when Manish Arora’s first look exited, a knee-length tunic digitally printed with jewels, and accompanied by a headpiece taken from his collaboration with Amrapali, a slight frisson was felt. The audacious mélange of pastel versions of jewel tones, traditional clothing, and his distinct design signature gave some clever results, like a softened midi-length A-line dress, his take on the churidaar –a legging-like trouser fitted below the knee and ending with gathering at the ankle in sheer sherbet pink fabric used as tights, and a tiger embroidered top. More than the pieces themselves, it is the assembly and layering that spoke volumes about the relevance of his spring/summer 2013.
Done by anyone else, this collection may have turned out costume-y and riddled with heavy-handed folklore references; in his hands, the modern essence of Indian shapes and rich jewelry traditions are revealed, despite a few shapes not quite fully explored that left a slight dimple in an otherwise powerful visual evocation.
It felt just right, the appropriate combination of his experience with different cultures and his roots, removed of any ethnic exaggeration. As a whole, the collection told a fluid story and the restrained way in which he deals his tastes of India, expressed his wish to no longer only speak to the kind of woman that would appreciate a 3D embroidered corset and a storm of sequins. “My clothes are not seasonal, they are one of a kind, something that you treasure and pass on to the next generation.” Just like the jewelry that inspired it all.
- Lily Templeton