Detractors who said Manish Arora showing at the London Fashion week was a one-off for India were forced to eat their words when the designer showed there again this February. And it looks like humble pie will be on the menu for critics when Ashish Soni hits the New York Fashion Week runway for the second time.
Life is beautiful for Manish
It's a muted Manish Arora who’s getting ready to hit the runway of the London Fashion Week for the third time this September. He is trading in his flamboyant colours for a subdued look this season. And for once, we will see his LFW collection before the swish set at Cromwell Road’s National History Museum.
After making his debut in September 2005, Manish returns to the week for the third time and is scheduled to show on the opening day, occupying the second-last show of the day. The LFW runs from September 18-22.
Ask him what is different this time at the LFW and pat comes the reply, "As much as there is between one India Fashion Week and another. When I was invited to LFW for the first time, there was no novelty value attached. It was about doing the Week one season after the other like the India fashion weeks." "I’m not going to the London Fashion Week as an India specific designer," argues Arora adding, "It is about whether people on the international runway and the market like your clothes or not. I’ve been invited there because of my work, not because India is hot right now."
The man who brought down his Red Riding Hood down to India via Japan last season will be romancing "life" this season. "The collection this season is very different from last season – it is called ‘Life is Beautiful’ and references everything around me from sun sets to sunrises, animals, flowers and birds," says Arora. He promises that you’ll see plenty of animal prints this time.
What has changed though is the fact that the clothes are now delicate chiffons and if the designer is to be believed moves from psychedelic colours to more muted shades (last season front row scribblers had wondered how he managed to be so colourful and not chaotic at the same time).
A more ‘mature’ Ashish
It’s an ‘Indian’ and a ‘matured’ Ashish Soni who is getting ready to storm the runway at the Olympus Fashion Week (New York) this Spring Summer. Soni admits both he and his producers are stumped at how he managed to get the night slot on the opening day (he shows at 9 pm at the Atelier tent on September 8 and his show is sandwiched between Baby Phat and Chris Aire). The Olympus Fashion Week is from Sept 8-15.
"So many big names of American fashion that had last season chosen to show off-side have this season chosen to come back and show in the main tent. So when there are so many more established designers having a slot, for me to have a night slot on the opening day after Baby Phat is a big thing," Soni laughs.
Ask him whether his missing a season (he missed the Autumn Winter Show in this year owing to bad health) would make a difference this season and he says, "Well, it’s a setback as the media may have forgotten us. However, we still sell to the same stores." Soni, whose Summer 2005 collection was pretty much what he had shown in India, only picked up modified a bit says this time, it’s a more matured, more trend friendly Soni who would be taking the New York Runway.
"If you felt my collection last Summer was slightly over-styled, this season would be a notch above where I left it," Soni says adding, Soni’s collection at NYFW will be a mix of the collection that he is making for the Nokia sponsor show and a new collection inspired by artists like Gustav Klimt and others. Soni admits that the novelty value associated with his collection (his last trip was sponsored by the tourism ministry that took his show as an occasion for promoting India) is gone, else he wouldn’t have received a slot with the who’s who of American design.