A sea of journalists and photographers wait impatiently at the back door of the Quai d’Austerlitz at Cite de la Mode for the highly anticipated Manish Arora Autumn/Winter 2012 preview show. Standing to my right is the leading Fashion Week journalist for Greece Vogue, and to my left is one of the more famous Paris fashion photographers. Manish Arora demands a turn out. Relatively new to the industry, Mumbai-‐born Arora launched his eponymous clothing line in India in 1997. He debuted at the 2005 London Fashion Week, and since then has secured a coveted spot among the worlds leading designers at Paris Fashion Week. The designer is best known for his rich palette of psychedelic colors with an emphasis on traditional Indian embroidery.
The runway is Quai itself. Exposed to the open air with a beautiful view of the Seine, the show’s outside venue was the first indicator of Arora’s chosen theme of urbanism. In the creation of this show, Arora turned to Brooklyn street artist Judith Supine for inspiration, rendering his show a synthesis of high fashion and city streets. The runway itself was not elevated, making the fashion seem all the more accessible. Two minutes after guests began to filter in, well-‐known Parisian graffiti artists Rude, Vizion, and Broke began to spray paint the canvas runway backdrop. In psychedelic pinks, oranges, greens, and yellows they painted throughout the show, finishing just before the final walk having written Manish Arora’s slogan: Life is Beautiful.
As the show starts, the urban landscape becomes a perfect reflector of the experimental, bold pieces on the runway. Arora’s palette was a collection of psychedelic neons and glittering metallic grounded by intricate handiwork and meticulous detailing. The entire collection pulsed with vibrancy and luminescence that bordered on whimsical with the introduction of mini dresses trimmed in a foot of pink, blue, or green fur.
One of the most impressive elements of Arora’s show was the embroidery that provided all the outfits with stunning couture details. Arora’s scrupulous eye presented itself in each piece. Details sewn by a perfectionist, the reappearance of pale pink jewels throughout the show is one example of the collection’s uniting details that appeared on blazer sleeves and skirts alike. This experimentation manifests itself again in the "laser-‐cut suede and leather handcrafted into creepers, leaves, feathers, and flowers that are embellished on the garments in innovative ways. " A sense of understated class served as a calming counterpoint to the experimental, psychedelic outfits strutting down the runway. As noted in Arora’s Press Release, "The collection exudes elegance reminiscent of the 1950’s, with structured silhouettes, such as flared dresses nipped in at the waist and box pleat skirts hugging the body in semi-‐cocoon shapes." This tidiness of sharp, clear angles was mirrored in the models’ uniformity. Their hair pinned in small, neat buns atop their heads, accented by gold leaflet hairpieces, and simple pale blue corner eye make up, and red lipstick. The minimal visages kept the accent on the pieces and kept the runway from feeling crowded.
Like his psychedelic palette, Arora is grounded by simplicity, by details. In an interview after the show, Arora said, "Life is beautiful, I believe it. It’s simpler than you think. It’s about what I feel...the heart."