It was half Indian, half gypsy — and totally Manish Arora in the complexity of pattern, decoration and vibrant colour. But was this costume party, flashed with gilding and stuffed bunnies (ears up like stiff soldiers), really a fashion show as the Paris scene understands it?
I have always championed Manish as not only the major Indian designer in the global arena, but also striding ahead with colourful, artistic Adidas sneakers and sportswear. But the sporty, international side had melted away in this summer 2016 collection.
Gypsies are believed to have started their pilgrimage across the world in India, the designer's home territory. But in this collection Romany culture was made to look like a kitschy theme, with hippie-de-luxe gilded chiffon dresses sweeping the floor of an underground dive by the river Seine. Scarlet and gold were the dominant colours, and even when there were shorter, knee-length dresses, the show lived up to the British phrase 'fancy dress'.
I tried to understand the point of Bunnyla, the decorative bunny. I supposed it was an invention in the spirit of Fendi's Karlito, a furry accessory. But I did finally grasp that Manish was involved in a project about air pollution, turning masks into attractive objects. That seemed more worthwhile than a multitude of embroidery, floral and butterfly decoration.