PFW: MANISH ARORA S/S 2015

Stop and try to picture this for a moment, if you can: Take a shower cap. Cover it in holographic material for that shimmery multi-colored look. Now, slap not just one, but multiple pair of goggles on top of that. This is one of the more sedate looks from this morning’s Manish Arora spring/summer 2015 show. My eyes are still trying to recover.

This is been quite a morning for excessively bright and eye-popping color, but then it would seem extremely strange and out of place for this Indian-born designer to come at us with anything that didn’t challenge our senses. What makes Manish really stand out from the crowd, though, is not just the over-the top graphic nature of his collections, but his extreme amounts of detail that comes into play on almost every possible inch of material. This is one of the most elaborately embellished collections one will ever see, and it is all done with an eccentric style so over-the-top for Western minds as to be impossible to ignore.

Arora’s designer’s notes called this collection, “A free-spirited traveler tripping through pastel landscapes.” Tripping is definitely the right word. In fact, I’m not sure Arora’s traveler is necessarily staying on this planet. There is a tremendous amount of holographic fabrics at play here that give large portions of the collection a bit of a space-age feel. Even the triangular backpacks that come with several of the ensembles seem to evoke a more out-of-this-world experience. Silhouettes are light and flighty, though, with plenty of loose pieces of chiffon to catch the air and given one the visual effect of flying without the need of external propulsion.

Embellishment and graphics are the key elements. Ball caps are a really big deal for Amish this season. Not your average ball cap, of course. These start with a neon acrylic covering and then he attaches all kinds of baubles and flowers and apparently anything he could find lying loose around his studio. Beads come in every imaginable size from the very, very tiny to the careful-you’ll-put-an-eye-out size. If it glitters, if it dangles, or if it can be appliqued, it’s here … somewhere.

All this is very fun to look at and very appealing on a certain level. Okay, the all-seeing eye thing is a little disturbing after the third time or so, and I’ve never been a fan of having faces look back at me from someone else’s chest. And then, there are those fanny packs. Dude, just … no. Please. He could have left those at home and we’d all been just fine.

Manish Arora has a very large, very specific audience that loves everything he does. Even I like watching his presentations and admire his skill and attention to detail. A certain personality is required to pull off these looks in public, though. These are not ensembles for wilting wall flowers. One has to be just as boisterous and loud as the clothes themselves. Fortunately, there are a whole lot of people for whom that works. If you like the attention and can handle the noise, embrace this Manish Arora collection. Start with the shower cap.

Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier

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