Not just an Indian summer
New Delhi-based fashion designer Manish Arora summed it up succinctly: "It's great to be an Indian right now. And I can tell you, Indians have a lot of money."
PARIS, February 25, 2008 - New Delhi-based fashion designer Manish Arora
summed it up succinctly: "It's great to be an Indian right now. And I can tell
you, Indians have a lot of money."
With the credit crunch and threatened recession in the United States and
Europe, luxury fashion houses courting new customers in the boom nations of
China and India may find that Asian designers are not willing to be
Arora, when he became the first Indian to show in ready-to-wear week in
Paris last season, made it clear this was no Indian summer: he intended to
make it all year round in the world's fashion capital.
This weekend, as the shows for next autumn-winter got under way, he was
joined by fellow countryman Rajesh Pratap Singh from Rajasthan, who developed
his label in Italy but has now decided to show here.
"I have a lot of friends in Paris, my clothes are already sold here. It was
only natural," he told AFP.
Both events created a buzz, indicating the likelihood that they will carve
out more prominent spots in the calendar in future.
Arora was inspired by warrior women, drawing on costume through the ages
and cultures from gladiators, medieval knights in shining armour and Samurai
to futuristic gear straight out of "Star Wars".
His models wore fearsome face masks, all glinting sharp points, with
gauntlets to the elbow and thigh-high boots.
Their lurex-spangled chainmail tunics and togas had 1980s power-dressing
padded shoulders and double cap-sleeves, but exquisitely embroidered with
witty designs by Japanese avant-garde artist Kelichi Tanami or even Walt
Disney cartoons in Arora's signature garish fluorescent palette.
Floor-sweeping coats had giant faux-fur cuffs and trims, others were a
patchwork of fake fur in yellow, dove and slate grey. Take away the masks and
there were clothes with real chutzpah.
Rajesh Pratap Singh's offerings were lower key, but equally showcased the
skills of needlework on the subcontinent. Dresses in matt black silk chiffon
hugged the body with row upon row of ultra fine pintucks. Glove-soft leather
was faintly embossed or figured with silver.
Deep cowl necklines on slinky satin shifts and bomber jackets, with flashy
linings in crimson or purple silk, could be pulled over the head to form
Opaque black hose and clunky black patent high heels accessorised lacquered
dresses, some with funky bands of silver foil at the hem, while trousers
draped like jodphurs or sarouels, clingy and skinny, with lines of silver
studs or zips as decoration.