Friday, February 28, 2014


Manish Arora's playful inventiveness. Photo: Yannis Vlamos
The rain and grey weather in France during the first days of Paris Fashion Week were in sharp contrast to the energy and colour of several fashion shows.

Indian designer Manish Arora particularly did much to make one forget the chill winds blowing through the streets of the French capital. Playfulness was the hallmark of his autumn/winter 2014 collection, as he presented a “candy tribe of sweet-toothed nomads and gummy bear gypsies”.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos
The first impression on seeing the designs was: Asia meets South America. Arora showed “oversize ice-cream prints and sugary landscapes” which adorned Peruvian circle skirts and the drop-waisted trousers of ancient Chinese workers, as his house described it.

The models’ steps were lit up by built-in LED lights in their sneakers, while tiny hot water bottles and amusing hip flasks were the accessories to keep Arora’s imaginary travellers warm on their wanderings.

The designer can always be counted on to spring a surprise, and the array of pink, purple, orange and green, together with his traditional embroidery, elicited a certain thrill at his daring. Even without the outlandish pom-poms worn by the models, this would’ve been a show to remember.


Photo: Olivier Claisse
In contrast, Polish designer Gosia Baczynska went for the more usual elegance and femininity. The use of lace and cut-outs, with many of the dresses molded to the body, added a sensual element to her collection.

Baczynska has told reporters that it upsets her that fashion is becoming just an industry, and she obviously was motivated to highlight the artistic aspect of fashion design.

She used a range of fabrics, and mixed colours and textures to great effect. This mélange is all the rage at the moment, but not everyone does it well. She can take pleasure in knowing that she does. - J.M. De Clercq and L. McKenzie

Gosia Baczynska shows the art of lace. Photo: Olivier Claisse
Arora's perfect coat to brighten a rainy day. Photo: Yannis Vlamos