Manish Arora on why fashion is the only thing that can sustain him creatively and his new collaboration with Koovs
Kitschy, over the top, flamboyant — there are a multitude of adjectives that have been used to describe Manish Arora. But, despite what the world dubs as ‘extravagant’ design, as far as Manish’s aesthetics go, it is business as usual for the man who has dressed the likes of Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. So when we ask Manish Arora about his maximalist sensibilities, the designer is candid with his answer. “I have never felt the need to restrain myself. I live my life the way I want , by my own rules. I think that really reflects in my work and I love that it does!”
It is this outpouring of unbridled expression that has allowed the now Paris-based couturier to seamlessly transition between creating a working carousel dress (worn by Katy Perry for the MTV Music Awards in 2009) to designing for limited edition collections with Disney, Swatch and even coffee makers, Nespresso. “I think I am fortunate to be in the field of designing. I have always been free in my expression, and I do not think I would have had this level of freedom had I not chosen to be a designer.”
Expanding on this gamut of his ingenuity, once again, the eponymous label — Manish Arora Paris, recently launched a second collaboration with Koovs, introducing a new category of unisex wear along with his womenswear line. For the project, that is currently available online, Manish tells us that he looked to some of the archived pieces from the brand’s wardrobe for inspiration, like The Shiny Happy People Jacket — a heavily multi-coloured sequined piece — which was specifically revived for the line. “The underlying theme of the collection is in continuation to a 2018 collaboration, ‘Love is love’. It comes at a time when our country completes one year of the verdict regarding Section 377. Manish Arora x Koovs is about celebrating that.”
A hallmark of the collection, as is the Paris-based couturiere signature, is the interesting take on prints and embellishments — especially the play on native American motifs, the Chinese emoticon Tuzki and label’s inclusion of embroidery, appliqué and beading. “Manish Arora as a brand has always been about creating a unique visual identity. I think what sets me apart, is the fact that I am always ready to experiment and I’m quick to move from one idea to the other,” shares the designer talking about the collection that is an eclectic mix of dresses, skirts, denims, T-shirts, and jackets; all featuring elements of the rainbow.
The collection also includes strong accessories, and focuses on pieces that can finish one look but that can also stand independently and be incorporated into other looks. “We have included some exciting accessories, like shoes, passport holders, and bum bags besides the clothing. The millennials understand the idea that a great accessory can really be a look-changer.” However, the 47-year-old cautions against going overboard with the accessories and styling. “Let one element be highlighted and let the focus remain on that.”
The campaign also marks the first time the brand has worked on unisex clothing. “A good design involves synergising your thoughts and keeping in mind the structure of the particular design, the dimensions and most importantly the customer. Gender fluid clothes are the biggest trend this year, and with the changing times, fashion is becoming unisex,” he shares. Adding that the line is targeted at the young millennial who is experimental, likes colours, and also aspires to own a classic Manish Arora piece. “Tying up with an e-tailer, we aim to reach a larger, younger audience around the country.”
Fresh off the runway after participating in the Paris Fashion week, the designer is set to take some time off, before heading into his next collection or perhaps another collaboration.