paris fashion week: manish arora
(images via style)
manish arora shows are always fun for a variety of reasons (see a/w 2010, a/w 2011), but the first particular to catch my eye at the s/s 2012 show, presented at paris fashion week, was the curvaceous (for the catwalk) opening model who strode out so purposefully, as if she belonged there like no other, though i’d never seen her before. who was she? it turned out to be none other than spanish actress rossy de palma, now in her late 40’s. i would have guessed her to be at least a decade younger, but whatever, she commanded the runway with all the confidence that would have made her beautiful, if she wasn’t already. just another point to the tally: are we sure teenagers are perpetually the best way to go when it comes to modeling?
but anyway, the clothes. overall, the mood seemed to be one of calm—for manish arora, anyway—as the designer prepared for the first staging of the revival of paco rabanne under his leadership. “Paco Rabanne is making me go all the way, so I’m now trying to make Manish a little more ‘believable,” he told wwd, which added that he explained, for this range “he used black, white and skin tones for the first time.” yet it would be a mistake to suggest that just because mr. arora is pulling back a bit, we’re not still seeing a delightful romp through absurdity. just, perhaps, that it’s a bit more palatable to the more conservative kids out there (and no doubt, rabanne’s owners, who probably don’t want a cd ensconced in the full throes of creative madness).
thus, as they went on to describe, “From the moment Rossy de Palma opened the show in a holographic silver bustier dress, there was barely a surface that was not laser-printed, sequined, cross-stitched, embroidered or fringed. Arora also unveiled a new line of jeans produced in collaboration with French premium denim brand Notify, in variations ranging from fluorescent dégradés to a psychedelic print.” but for those strides in a commercial direction, vogue still pointed out some of the more obscure highlights of the show, from the “futuristic tea party with models sat at gilt gold tables” to “bejewelled [sic] brows” and “(b)ird inspiration – feathers, embroidered parrots and even taxidermy (spot the budgies!)”
meanwhile, style, too realized that “normalcy is a relative term with Arora.” so, they went on to write, the designer “may have hopped on the elegant sixties-couture bandwagon, but the version he showed was still very much his own, which meant a bit alien and kookily futuristic. An iridescent metallic appliqué minidress trimmed with blush marabou might have been the chicest thing in Barbarella’s closet. The pearl mesh of a peplumed checked dress looked like circuitry, and a party frock pieced with sharp panels of double-faced satin and sequins was lovely, but might make a Trekkie fall in love with you. It was all wearable, but certainly not run-of-the-mill, and never boring.”
“Some of the clothes were quite beautiful: The dégradé effect of black and white butterfly-wing sequins bursting into a ruff of feathers on a midi dress certainly qualified. Arora wrapped things up on a clean and pop note with a photo print abstracted from a picture taken by Robert Altman at 1970’s Holy Man Jam festival. That was a time when the future really was imagined to be kooky and bright. Those smiling and clapping faces on standaway coats and skinny cigarette pants were having just as much fun as Arora seems to have designing his clothes,” they went on.
as was the case with a number of other conceptual designers gone commercial, i was at first horrified at the prospect of mr. arora-gone-twinset. and, though i hate to admit it, perhaps we have a little something to owe to the likes of katy perry and nicki minaj, both of whom, as fans of the designer’s, have probably helped boost him to unknown heights. i’m not one to give celebrities much credit for fashion sense, but on the other hand, if they assist designers like mr. arora from having to plumb the depths of sale-able fashion, perhaps there’s a good in that. and still, what we saw today was a big step away from collections homeboy has produced in the past, so let’s hope this is the farthest he has to traverse. it was fun and charming, though i will say i did miss the times of the carousel dress.
(see the highly energized show video here)