Designers Manish Arora and Gaurav Gupta presented two acutely different yet masterful collections on Day Four of India Couture Week. While Arora mesmerised with sights and sounds of the Light Festival in Belgium and a Japanese folk art form, Gupta called upon Greek mythology and his love for nature to create magic. Somya Lakhani reports
It’s a rather strange and complex relationship that one shares with fashion genius Manish Arora. You love him for being completely uninhibited and creating art, not just clothes. But it’s exactly this that also leaves one confounded. When does it get a bit much? His 2014 India Couture Week collection for his label Indian by Manish Arora, presented at the French Embassy in Delhi on Friday night, left us asking the same question.
A psychedelic cube floor in the centre, trippy tunes by Tapan Raj of Midival Punditz and models on a floor above visible through a window — these were the essentials of Arora’s show, where the Paris-based designer strung together six different stories.
To the sound of a woman’s seductive whisperings, models sashayed down the runway in lehengas and shararas in black, emerald green, blue and maroon. Sequins of all sizes and shapes on silk and velvet garments dominated this segment. The models sported exaggerated floral head gears and hairdos as well as neon make-up — an Arora signature — in a capsule inspired by the famous Light Festival in Belgium.
Five garments down the ramp and you already know it’s a bit much. But we take a measured look at Arora as a conceptual artist, one who is just giving us a glimpse into the colours and patterns he will create this year. The other trick is to deconstruct each look he’s presented and see each piece as separate. This tip came in handy with the next section, which used The Peacock Room in Tuscany, Italy, as a starting point. Arora revisited his overly kitschy days and revived his love for multicolour stripes, zardozi and appliqué techniques and 3D highlighting.
He also paid a visit to the ‘20s with models dressed in flapper dresses in red, dull neon blue and dashes of gold, covered in Indian embroideries, walking to a haunting rendition of Hallelujah. Is Arora all gimmick now? Before we could devise an answer, the genius designer came up with a segment inspired by Temari, a craft tradition of the Japanese aristocracy. The colour palette ranged from black, white, gold to green, red and fuschia. Did we mention that there was a part inspired by the crowns of kings and queen or maybe just Cleopatra?
The show ended with a section dedicated to the love of jewellery as bejewelled lehengas and a swimsuit walked the runway and Arora was given a well-deserved standing ovation. Love him or hate him, you just can’t ignore him.