10-year Parisian’s home shop

10-year Parisian’s home shop

Designer Manish Arora celebrates his decade-long run at Paris Fashion Week with a new design studio and is setting sights on China. By Team Viva

In the season of fashion weeks and new collections, designer Manish Arora celebrated a big moment in his usual understated way. He has completed ten years of showing at the Paris Fashion Week, the first and only Indian designer who made Indianness not an apology but a bold statement in international couture, which has largely been defined by the grammar of the Western world.  And he did with such quirk and panache.

To commemorate this significant milestone, the designer opened his second studio and workshop at the Dhan Mill compound near Chhattarpur with an installation of his decade-long favourites from Paris. And he lovingly explained each sequin, bead and curl with as much passion  as when he first created them.

We mentioned the word “first” and “breakthrough” and though he  was pleased as punch at being acknowledged, he guffawed, “Wow, makes me look so old!” Then he acknowledged, “The platform is an important one as it has given me the opportunity to represent India in its pure vibrancy.”

The display was a throwback to the designer’s brilliance, be it pop art, Indian exotica, street kitsch, the marine world, the flurried world of butterflies and outer space and even Game of Thrones, all done in clean and elegant silhouettes and the most intricate, layered and experimental handcrafting. Arora has handpicked each of the displays, going through each of his decade-long  collections and zeroing in on a standout piece, a process which he admits, was “heart-breaking.” But because he loves them so much, he won’t sell them. “My clients think I am mad. They tell me you are probably the only designer who does not want to sell his stuff. These picks of mine are indeed not on sale,” he told us.

And who wouldn’t want a piece of the Paris collection of 20 seasons? The designer’s run there has been as enriching as his butterfly-tailed gown. From presenting his unique technicolour vision to the fashion world and helming Paco Rabanne while keeping his civilisational thread alive, Arora has seamlessly fused traditional craftsmanship with innovative modern constructs and fit.

The new space with past inspirations mounted strategically  “epitomises,” as Arora said,  “happiness, joy and glorious celebrations, illustrating what makes life truly beautiful.”

On the work front, as he pores over the drawing board of his new design studio, which has churned out accessories, logos and brand identities, the  designer is looking forward to the China market. He has two running in Shanghai and Suzhou and will be opening three more on the mainland. From the West, Arora is now looking to the Far-East, where all the action is. Geo-politically as well

as culturally.



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