By Priya Kumar
This is quite a thrilling week for SHE Canada. Besides being packed back-to-back with shows by the world's top designers, it's also SHE's debut at Paris Fashion Week. Yes, I'm aware press doesn't "debut" at fashion week, but we're very excited over here.
In the unseasonably balmy Indian summer weather, the first show I had the opportunity to attend was appropriately enough Manish Arora Spring/Summer 14 on Day 2. Having arrived at the wrong Palais du Tokyo earlier this morning--Note to self: it's the one featured in The Devil Wears Prada where Miranda smells freesia, not the seedy bar near Pont Neuf--I turned up in the nick of time as the space allowed entry. Other guests included famed fashion critic for the International Herald Tribune Suzy Menkes, Vogue India's Fashion Features Editor Bandana Tewari and pint-sized avant-garde accessories designer Little Shilpa. Hosted by Incredible India!, the show was the visual runway equivalent of Dylan's Candy Store. Set to a soundtrack of Bad Girls by M.I.A. (who else would a South Asian designer use to set the mood in Paris?), the saccharine collection reminded me why I amassed so many Arora pieces back in my Bombay days. Psychedelic art deco is perhaps the best way to describe the fashion house's style.
Of course his S/S14 effort was no exception. Inspired by Josephine Baker, the collection evokes the spirit of the roaring twenties with drop-waist dresses, flapper style embellishments crossed with Arora's signature quirky prints in sequins and metallic appliqué. The jewellery, provided by Amrapali, stayed true to the theme with a banana motif as a nod to Baker's style. Airplane and lipstick graphics touched on the women's liberation movement of the time, particularly Amelia Earhart who tragically disappeared over the central Pacific in the 30s.
The takeaway from this collection was raver candy kid fused with Downton Abbey's Lady Mary. The old-world sillhouettes were brought into the 21st century with armfuls of neon beads, textured sequins sweatshirts and multi-coloured shoelaces, which so happened to be on Arora's debut shoe collection. His trademark is not surprisingly, a pink heart sole.
More pictures to come.