He refuses to categorise himself purely as a maximalist, would hate for his clothes to be liked by all, and believes that his exciting life makes for the best inspiration. Manish Arora and his unique aesthetic defy definition, says Priyanka Khanna
Replete with his signature psychedelia, apocalyptic dressing, Jazz Age flappers and Hollywood glamour, that Manish Arora titled his autumn/winter 2019-20 show Finally Normal People might be perceived as an oxymoron by most. But for Arora, this state of extravaganza is business as usual. “Sure, in some people’s eyes what I do would seem to be maximal, but for me, it’s my normal,” he says laughing. “Sometimes people like me need a lot more to express.”
And his tableau of expression has spanned the gamut—from the more spiritual oeuvre in autumn/winter 2018-19 to the Candy Crush-inflected elements of A/W 2014-15. He’s designed dresses that have a working carousel (worn famously by Katy Perry) and others festooned with glow-in-the-dark hand-sewn butterflies. “What’s happening in Indian fashion today is the perfect example of maximalism— with the kitsch, over-the-top element of the weddings. My aesthetics are unique, they are personal, and I guess that’s what makes them different. They are an amalgamation of fashion and art, but expressed through the medium of clothing.” His references in fashion are unsurprising—the drama of Thierry Mugler’s shows, the quirk of Jean Paul Gaultier, and the larger-than-life collections at Comme des Garçons have all influenced him at different points in his career.
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