Saturday, March 2, 2013


Arora's 2013-2014 ready-to-wear collection
Along with the movie stars, the outlandishly dressed bloggers and the legions of buyers, Paris Fashion Week stands out increasingly for the number of Asian designers showing their collections.

The latest event, which began on Feb. 26 and ends March 6, features established Japanese designers and rising Korean and Chinese stars, but it is Indian stylist Manish Arora who has had people talking over the past days.

Arora brought his unique brand of effervescence to the runway, with his models strutting to Bollywood music, while wearing lively and playful designs that integrated traditional Indian sytles with a very modern look.. Turbans, scarves and tunics were turned into wearable art in his show.

Arora combines unlikely colours.
Arora, who made his debut here in 2007, was one of about 14 Asian designers showing Fall/Winter 2013-2014 ready-to-wear collections, in an extravaganza that  predictably starred the leading European names of fashion such as Christian Dior, Chanel, Louis VuittonValentino, Givenchy and Nina Ricci, as well as “newer” designers such as Stella McCartney and Paul & Joe.

The renowned Asian fashion houses, including Issey Miyake of Japan, have so far had well-received shows, but it is the younger designers that are now seizing the world stage.

A 2009 Arora creation 
“As a display of Indian craftsmanship, the effects were extraordinary,” veteran fashion reporter Suzy Menkes once wrote of Arora’s collection. “The compressions of bright color and explosion of nature’s butterflies and beasts brought the spirit of exotic India to Paris.”

Arora, 39 years old, spends months working with craftsmen in his studio in New Delhi, and he is determined to dazzle the sometimes bored-looking spectators who converge on these shows.

Back in 2009, he recruited the make-up artist Kabuki to decorate his model’s faces with sequins and symmetric bars of bright hues to add even more excitement to the costumes.

This year, he mixed improbable colours such as pink and yellow and threw in sequins and fur for a look that screamed: “try to top this”.

Arora told Tasshon that he believes that young Asian designers are attracting fans internationally because their work is “very genuine and very creative” in certain ways.

“They want to make a mark in Europe and that’s what makes them try harder,” he said. “At least that’s the situation in my case.” - J.M. DE CLERCQ and L. MCKENZIE