Rave on with Manish Arora
Iridescent silver body cladding in psychedelic swirled patterns, riotous shots of fluo pink and green: India's Manish Arora gave the Paris fashion crowd a rainbow-coloured shot in the arm on Thursday.
The Indian designer, who next week unveils his first collection for Paco Rabanne as the house returns to the fashion fray after a five-year absence, told AFP beforehand he wanted his own Spring-Summer look to be "crazy but believable."
Rossy de Palma, the strong-featured Spanish actress beloved of Pedro Almodovar, opened the show with a bang, strutting up to the cameras in a shiny metallic dress, cut well above the knee with high dominatrix collar and bare tattooed arms.
Shaking her shoulders suggestively, she ordered the row of models who followed her in to take seats at a line of bar tables, each laid with a different type of mock tea set in coppery gold, from English crockery to Russian samovar.
Arora, who is known for a highly ornamental style and eye-popping palette, said this time round he aimed for something a little quieter.
"I'm keeping the crazy but it's a lot more believable," he told AFP.
His chief inspiration, he said, was the colour of skin, using sheer fabrics and the bodies of his models to reveal a human rainbow of blacks, browns and whites.
But the translucent, nude silks -- whether leggings, skirts of sleeveless tops -- were anything but simple: overlaid with silver cladding or encrusted with thick layers of sequins or pins that rustled like sea shells as the models walked.
A foot-sweeping skirt with a metallic chainmail effect clinked and glittered green as if lit from within.
Fluo pink and green also popped up on ostrich feathers at sleeves and necklines, as well as on ankle-hugging spiky stiletto boots, which sometimes climbed to form one piece with a trouser leg.
One model stepped out wearing a black birdcage-like bustier, with tropical green birds perched on top it, over skin-tight bright green jeans.
Arora also drew on hippie culture, with Robert Altman shots of ecstatic music festival crowds, their hands in the air, reproduced on floor-sweeping skirts or A-line capes, either printed or hand-stitched from hundreds of pieces.
© 2011 AFP