Overall gorgeous, the true beauty of Manish Arora’s designs can be found in his small details. His exquisite ornamentation is, truth be told, mainly what keeps me interested in his releases year after year.
That’s why it’s surprising to me that he was able to tone his embellishments down for Spring 2015 and release a collection that can really be viewed as prêt-à-porter rather than as couture by the average consumer. Don’t get me wrong- even this pared-down version of Mr. Arora’s aesthetic qualifies as maximalist by most standards, but this season marks the closest that the designer has come to doing entry-level retail. Not really off-the-rack, but it’s by no means a miss in style points!
It’s very girly- think of the sweetest pastel images that you can imagine, add in a whole lot of Hindu religious motifs, florals, trompe-l’œil embellishments, grungy street-style cuts and psychedelic pop-art space prints à la Lisa Frank, and you get the gist of Manish Arora’s Spring 2015 vision.
The showing was beautiful. The designer toned down his love of bold colours, opting instead for a pretty shade of palest pink, with a supporting palette in fondant hues of lavender, blue and scarab green, with Mr. Arora’s love of vibrancy showing through in the bright linings and iridescent embellishments. His signature runway styling was also boldly in play with bright adaptions of symbolic Indian makeup like Bindis (forehead dots) and Sindoor (coloured hair parting), though these were best viewed at the end of the show when the models removed their hats.
His overall looks were toned down- prints were sheer and diaphanous instead of in your face, swashes of chiffon and iridescent fabric were left to billow in the wind and large planes of fabric remained void of any embellishment. Rather than relying solely on his signature ornamentation, Mr. Arora explored the possibilities of sheer paneling as decoration. Most often, he layered plain or lightly- beaded gauze over printed or brighter-hued fabric to create a hazy effect of foreground and background, or paired strips of layered chiffon with single net ribbons to create a sort of striped negative space. What a beautiful development- I can’t wait to see more!
Those gorgeous embellishments did however make an appearance in limited degrees, in the runway lineup. Shift dresses, bandeaux tops, long sari skirts, tunics, jackets and hoodies were covered in trompe-l’œil rococo motifs; trailing vines of sparkly beadwork, lush embroidery, ropes of pearls and cabochon crystals, crystal-encrusted roses, metal blossoms in high relief and appliqué patterns made of lazer cut mirrors and sequins. Cut in simple, sporty silhouettes and paired with plainer separates these eye- catching pieces felt airy and uncomplicated- even though decked out in the fabulous embroideries.
It’s easy street-style bait, and I’m confident that come spring there will be girls fighting over these pieces!
There were also some stunning accessories spotted in the lineup. Iridescent gladiator platforms in silver leather and plastic were a big feature, as were embellished waist- bags (‘fanny packs’) and triangular backpacks covered in 3-D ornamentation. There were also some cool collar necklaces made out of bejewelled plastic reflectors, brightly- embellished clutches, printed tote bags, crystal-encrusted belts, glittering skullcaps and baseball caps covered in high-relief rococo adornment.
I’m quite impressed with them all and this season marks the release of the widest variety of pieces in Mr. Arora’s accessory line. I don’t think that I’ll ever warm to waist- bags as an accessory, but those clutches are fierce! As are those embellished baseball caps and skullcaps, but these are more suited for a high- glam rave rather than a run.
The final walk-out premiered a series of white sweater dresses simply emblazoned with the images of a fluorescent eye or nose-ringed goddess. This range of active-wear inspired clothing made for a refreshing finish. These will no doubt be the best lure to draw crowds to Mr. Arora’s brand new Parisian flagship store.
Beyond the maximalist vision that Manish Arora had developed, there is now a new realist perception of what women want today and Manish Arora is definitely catering to them (us). Even his simplest separates can revive the plainest outfits, and his all-over looks are certain to capture attention. Also- and very smartly, by offering such distinctive signature pieces, his work can’t be mistaken for anyone’s but Manish Arora’s… and in modern fashion, branding- even understated branding, is a huge part of a house’s success.
This Spring 2015 collection is gorgeous and will no doubt draw a huge surge of new fans to the label. I’m totally in love, and you can be guaranteed that when this offering hits stores, I’ll be amongst the glamazons snatching up covetable pieces. That rose-embellished swing dress has my name on it!
Manish Arora’s Spring show is fierce!