Home > mint-lounge > features > Lounge Review | Manish Arora’s 2014 festive collection

Imagine someone giving you many more reasons to love a person or an idea you already love passionately. Imagine those reasons revealed through a show-and-tell experience. That’s what Manish Arora’s Festive 2014 show did at the India Couture Week which concluded last Sunday.

For those inspired by global cultural traditions without being able to explain why, this show, a part of his label Indian by Manish Arora, was an enlivening advocate. The spectacular staging—an Arora signature—with a psychedelic square on the stage surrounded by shining black surface tiling, so sparkling that it looked like still water, had models coming down a staircase from a glass-encased window on a higher-floor level at the French embassy in New Delhi. This was an off-site show.

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Titled Kaleidoscope, the collection had six segments. The Crown, inspired by crowns of monarchs from across the world; Temari, an old, aristocratic Japanese craft; The Light Fantastic, from the popular Light Festivals of Belgium and France; The Jewels, deriving from the Indian fascination for gold; The Peacock, inspired by the The Peacock Room in Castello di Sammezzano in Tuscany, Italy; and Iridescent, for sheer love of the sheer.

Prodded by the memory of Arora’s former shows, this is what audiences expect from the designer. So what is new?

It is difficult to call Manish Arora “old" or “has been" even though he may repeat his signature fashion moves. He doesn’t cook a tried-and-tasted pudding with nostalgia as its sweetest ingredient. Instead, he communicates in new denominations the visuals he picks up from around the world. Tested inside his fashion laboratory, it appears that the wan and insipid among them fall by the side while the sensational, tactile and colourful survive. Reposed on the stage, they prod us to think rather than ask: So who will wear these garments?

Perhaps only a few will (some do) as a Manish Arora ensemble shown on a ramp can’t be taken literally. That’s perhaps not even his purpose—what he does is hold a mirror to those who love couture. When you look into the mirror, instead of seeing your (bridal) self, you see the world.

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