Designer Manish Arora on fashion, trends, his favourite colour, the concept of Tuzki and more
He is one of the most popular Indian names on the global fashion circuit and is known to have brought his quirky and eclectic sense to the runway.
From shimmer to sequins, he can also be credited for bringing introducing neons to fashion in an early stage for the eccentric shades. His collaboration with Reebok back in 2007 for a designer sportswear line called Fish Fry is an example of Manish Arora’s body of work, one which is quite synonymous with searching the most eccentric brains to deliver the most creative designs.
While he is big on a lot of colour play, it’s his trademark palette of pink and gold that he still feels strongly about.
Manish set up his label in 1997 and showcased his work at the London Fashion Week in 2005 that pretty much put him on the world map. After LFW was his popular stint at Paris Fashion Week in 2007, post which he went on to become a member of the renowned French Federation of Pret-a-Porter in 2009.
Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 was a particularly memorable one for Manish’s collection as it was the first time he applied his inspiration from India by creating a line with Rajasthani elements. At PFW 2018’s Fall/Winter lineup, Manish introduced his collection, Orange is the new Zen through the popular character Tuzki.
He has now collaborated with Koovs for the second time after the successful reception the first time around. We speak with him about trends he expects to see, his favourite Bollywood celebrity and why and working on his latest collection.
Which celebrity have you most enjoyed styling and why?
Ranveer Singh, it’s always fun to dress him! I’ve always believed in being fearless in terms of self-expression and I don’t think there can be a better spokesperson than him!
Please throw some light on women’s wear trends that you’re introducing soon and how do they depict indigenous symbolism?
Gender fluid clothes are the biggest trend this year and I think the trend will remain popular for the longest time. Being yourself standing out in crowd and not being shy of what and how you want to represent yourself is the new trend I would say for both men or women. With the modern times a lot of fashion is becoming unisex. I’m happy to be introducing with Koovs a unisex collection that aims to spread awareness on gender fluidity and challenging gender stereotypes.
3.Tell us more about Tuzki and what we can expect in your collection this time?
Tuzki is such a fascinating character. While his homeland is China, he is immensely popular across the world. As you can see, I’m a fan myself and knew about him before the collaboration when Turner International Ltd. happened. He has a unique look with a quirky body language. What I loved about Tuzki is that he gives people, especially millennials, the opportunity to express themselves without language barriers.
A part of my Fall-Winter Collection that debuted at Paris Fashion Week 2018, Tuzki was the inspiration for a special line of accessories and apparel called ‘Orange is the new Zen’. Incorporating his ability to communicate a story universally worked fabulously and blended well with my vision for the collection. In fact, I am ecstatic with the response it has received in the China market, and cannot wait for Indian fans to enjoy the accessories and apparel.
4.Your favourite texture when choosing what to wear or style someone.
If I had to choose for myself, I prefer the comfort of the texture of pure cotton, with a silk brocade jacket.
5.Your thoughts on florals and if they’re likely to make it to wedding fashion this season?
The florals are an evergreen trend, popular with both men and women. It is here to say, for women it could be seen in skirts and for men as jackets.
6.Your all-time favourite colour from the palette and why? Which colour do you find yourself tilting towards the most, in all seasons?
a.Pink and Gold
7.Tell us the must-haves you suggest for a young professional’s winter wardrobe.
A sharp jacket, a basic sweater, an overcoat and a pair of good shoes
8. 3 things that are evergreen menswear fashion regardless of the current trend?
A white t-shirt, a cotton kurta and a bold, fluorescent coloured piece – for the special occasion when you want to stand out.
9.Your thoughts on athleisure and how it is becoming a preferred and necessary fashion choice. Will we be seeing any athleisure in your latest collection too?
Athleisure is irresistible. Right from the runway and ready-to- wear collections, to celebrity collaborations, down to our daily lives it is present everywhere. Our Fall Winter ‘19 collections feature bombers, sweatshirts, and track pants with intricate embroideries and hand applique.
10.What are the festive trends you expect to see this season?
I think there will be a lot of elements of colour blocking, gender fluidity and utilitarian clothing this festive season.
Combine traditional and modern elements - for example, a corset top or a satin blouse with a heavily embroidered skirt. Since gender fluidity is one of the biggest trends, try experimenting with unisex clothing as well as utilitarian pieces - pair a utility jacket with a short embroidered skirt.
11.How do you feel about your collaboration with Koovs and the message you’re using around the collection at Paris Fashion Week. How do you see the collection making an impact?
This is the second collaboration between KOOVS and Manish Arora. The first one was highly successful, therefore we decided to go ahead with another one. Both Manish Arora and KOOVS had built a good relationship basis the first collaboration, so it proceeds to the second and hopefully to the third, fourth and fifth too.
Conceptualizing the second one was a collective effort between KOOVS and Manish Arora. We arrived at a common ground of choosing something which is very innovative and at the same time matches the brand synergies. Since we have already experienced one collaboration before, we brainstormed on how to make it different from that, keeping in mind different story ideas, the customer, and yet having my own signature style on it.
Then we came up with, which is for the first time the unisex category, the main USP of this collaboration. Based on the theme Love is Love, it also has some of our classic archive pieces that we have shared with KOOVS to spread the message across the entire country.