Manish Arora is a busy man. The designer shuttles between Paris and New Delhi and works with three brands, besides a host of other collaborations.
This February, he showed in India after a gap of five years at the Wills India Fashion Week. "It was great, and I'd love to be back soon, but I don't know if I'll have the time," he admits. We caught up with him at the launch of his new store, Indian by Manish Arora, a collaboration with women's apparel brand Biba.
What are your current projects?
I have three lines - Indian by Manish Arora that's available only in India, Fish Fry that's available in India and globally, and Manish Arora, which is my Paris collection. I have a year-long jewellery collaboration with Amrapali too.
Your stint as artistic director of Paco Rabanne ended last year. Are you keen on taking up a similar role in the future?
Working in a French fashion house was a privilege. Design-wise, I learnt something new every day, and it taught me how to live in Paris. I'd love to do something of that sort in the future, but I want to focus on my own three brands for now and establish them.
Tell us about your new store.
I've collaborated with Biba to open stores as well as shop-in-shops that stock my Indian wear. It's priced at around 15 per cent lower than the regular prices I sell at. We're open in Delhi and Chennai too and will soon launch in more cities. I've been involved with everything, even the design of the stores. I'll be doing two large collections per year, which will be staggered. Every month, a few new pieces will hit the racks. We're also going to add bags, iPad cases and other accessories.
You recently had a show in India after five years. Why was there such a long gap?
I show at Paris Fashion Week every year, and it's usually very close to the fashion weeks in India, so I can't make it. This time, it was only a week apart. I had the same collection at both shows. All the buyers come to Paris, so although I'd love to show in Mumbai or Delhi, that one's a priority.
You get to experiment a lot with couture, but how much scope do you get for artistry in prêt collections?
I think everything is wearable. Young designers sometimes do stuff another way just to see how far they can go with the gimmicks, but eventually you have to make something that sells.
And what's the difference between Indian and international clients?
They're different markets, but I find both exciting; otherwise I wouldn't be catering to them. With Paris, it's not just one country - the attention is from all over the world and the competition is very tough. In India, although it's based only in one country, the demand is very high.