Manish Arora is in a spiritual mood for Autumn Winter 2018. Zen Buddhism and meditation from Japan informs rich cherry blossom brocades and chrysanthemum threadwork on monastic kimono inspired jackets and gathered worker trousers. A Japanese precision permeates a strictly divided line-up of uniform silhouettes fabricated in Japanese silks, all topped with knotted scarves made from the hand-woven jacquards of the craftsmen local to Arora’s Delhi studio.
Hearts, as ever, are omnipresent throughout. Swirling sequin heart embroidery with falling maple leaves recreates the methodically combed sand art of Japanese Zen monks. Traditionally ‘low’ fabrics such as washed denim and denim-effect felts rub shoulders with opulent organzas and luxurious raw silks. Dark indigo denim is stitched with Ukiyo-e inspired scenic landscapes of rolling waves, decorative bridges, and monasteries.Quilted from four layers of fabrics and then cut away to reveal secret layers within, frayed patchwork denim pieces infused with gold thread are then washed to replicate the aged quality of the robes worn by Buddhist worker monks and nod to the hand-stitched quality of the sewing exercises that are included in the rites and rituals of the monks’ lives.
The natural world provides a compelling source of inspiration for patchwork embroidery – from the Bonsai trees, glistening carp fish and balanced pebbles of the classical Japanese rock garden, to shimmering meditative sunrises and woodblock-effect floating pink heart clouds. Wooden-block Geta-inspired shoes are hand painted with all the elements from the collection. Japanese fish prints are blown-up and magnified into an abstract camouflage print that swims across full skirts and sporty jackets in a
A swirl of grey, pink and ochre. The spiritual energy of orange, and its Buddhist associations of illumination, courses throughout the collection alongside the serenity of rich mystical midnight blues taken from the wardrobe of the medieval wizard Merlin.
Mythical creatures from pagan legend are reborn in millennial form as Arora’s very own Boogie Bomb characters – horned, winged and butterfly-festooned bags with impish faces rendered in sparkling sequins. The presence of China’s most famous emoticon ‘Tuzki’ introduces another playful element into the mix and also takes Arora’s personal experiences as inspiration, as he follows a day in the life of Arora on printed bombers and sweatshirt dresses – meditating in the morning, flying to Paris for the shows, walking the runway, and celebrating at the end of the day. And celebration is, indeed, the order of the day with the opening of five new stand alone Manish Arora stores in China this year.
Let me know your thoughts on this collection in the comments below. Peace.