|Manish Arora design.|
Indian designer Manish Arora and several other innovative stylists have been showing why African print is such a potent source of inspiration. The colours and geometric shapes enliven all materials, and when they’re adopted by visionary artists, they take on a “galactic” dimension, as Arora proved with his Fall/Winter 2017 collection titled “Cosmic Love”.
The aim was to take viewers on a “visual journey”, starting from Africa and spanning into the “outer reaches of the cosmos”, said Arora, as he celebrated his brand’s 10th anniversary during Paris Fashion Week, Feb. 28 to March 7.
Bold colours and “arithmetic” shapes were thus patch-worked onto denim tunics or appliquéd on silk organza dresses, while “African textures of boiled wool patchwork” were used for oversize bombers and waistcoats - all for an original look.
The emerald and gold of peacock feathers was also a trend throughout, as the models strutted down the runway, their faces and arms decorated with beads and “tribal” paint.
The peacock motif stood out in embroidery on evening dresses and gowns that had Arora’s trademark playfulness.
With other garments, the designer employed striking shades of tangerine, royal blue and fuschia, and mixed Aztec prints and Art Deco patterns for in-your-face wrap dresses and trouser suits.
For some, the boldness was a bit too much. “It lacks subtlety,” a Dutch viewer remarked at the end of the show. “It’s too overwhelming.” Still, whatever the reaction, one thing was certain: this was a show to be remembered.
SIRLOIN - THE NEW DESIGNERS IN THE LOO
Sometimes location is everything. Shanghai-based womenswear label Sirloin presented their first Fall/Winter 2017 collection in the public toilets of Paris, with models lounging in doorways or, in one case, sitting atop a commode.
Of course, this wasn’t just any washroom, but the historic lavatories beneath Madeleine Square, on which stands the famed Église (Church) de la Madeleine. Built in the 1930s, the toilets were being opened for the first time again since 2011, and the space was therefore gleaming, with its fancy tiles and doors.
According to Sirloin, which was founded by Japanese-Swedish duo Mao Usami and Alve Lagercrantz, the location was meant to emphasize a “self-ironic point of view” during the brand’s launch at Paris Fashion Week.
The two, both graduates of Central Saint Martins arts and design college, have already won several awards, and they say that their “ultimate vision is to create a full wardrobe ‘literally’ from inside out”. That means that underclothes or pyjamas are the priority - garments that make one comfortable, relaxed and light-hearted.
Their “narrative” of the Fall/Winter season was presented through designs that drew on vintage corduroys and cashmeres, as well as on Chinese sand-washed silk, rough sweatshirts and towel-type fabrics.
The collection finished off with “outdoor” wear that employed “underwear details”, to use their own description. The idea was to create a full wardrobe, in which underclothes are somehow merged with whatever one considers “ready to wear”. – Tasshon