PFW: MANISH ARORA F/W 2014

I realize that the online game Candy Crush is a world-wide phenomenon that is making some software company a lot of money. I also understand that sometimes it’s nice to wear something really bright and cheerful on those cold, dreary, winter days when the snow is deep and the temperatures are low. Neither of those things, however, were sufficient to help me make it through this Manish Arora collection without reaching for a pain reliever. I’m not sure it is physically possible to have consumed enough coffee to be ready for this collection any time before 6 or 7 in the evening.

Loaded with graphic digital prints from top to bottom, Arora presented a collection for those who are eternally cheery. We all know someone who can find rainbows in the deepest mud puddle and it would seem that Manish has crafted a line of clothing specifically for them. Not only are the colors as bright as possible, in many cases he seems to have gone out of his way to make sure every color is represented in a single look. The prints are scenic, dramatic, and over-the-top bright. Only once do we see a rather simple black dress adorned with some gold fringe and topped with a reasonable red scarf. Manish goes right back into multiple colors and before long is doing peppermint candy stripes that look more like they belong at Santa’s workshop.

Oh, and someone cue William Tell, please. The first four looks all come with something resembling an apple atop the model’s head. As if the clothes themselves wouldn’t make one enough of a target.

For all its brightness and gimmickery, there are some strong features that will likely do quite well in stores this fall. What stands out most are the athletic shoes that come with each piece. While the whole top-to-bottom look might be a bit much, the shoes are enough to seriously brighten any “normal” ensemble and give one some nice bounce to their step at the same time. Capes also do well with the graphic print treatment, especially those hosting a snowy winter scene. These could be wonderful for holiday parties and the like. Purses and earmuffs are cute and fun and likely to be snatched up by any young teen whose parent is feeling guilty for having missed her last dance recital.

The remainder of the collection, unfortunately, is likely to receive a chilly reception, at least in the US and most of Europe. Never mind that the silhouettes are well done. Fabric textures are wonderful. Details are incredible. Yet, no one is likely to notice those things when one cannot even approach the garments without wearing sunglasses.  Where will the clothes do well? Quite likely Asia and Arora’s native India where such liveliness is a more common part of the daily aesthetic. Response from people in those markets has been quite favorable.

There is an old Broadway caution that asks, “Will it play in Peoria?” referring to the Midwestern town in Illinois. For this Manish Arora collection, the answer is probably negative. The clothes are simply too lively for most Midwestern tastes. No collection is without its audience, though, and given that the Asian and Indian markets out buy the US market rather considerably, Manish has likely made a good choice to cater to their taste.

Still, I could have used some sunglasses, even with the rain.

Tags from the story
, ,
More from charles i. letbetter

NYFW: JASON WU F/W 2014

Absolute elegance. That really is the only way to describe Jason Wu’s...
Read More