Manish Arora continues to attract a growing audience at his circus-like runway shows, but yesterday’s sublime presentation will serve to further secure his place at the table of fashion’s fiercest visionaries. Last season he quite literally showed circus-inspired mini dresses and staged the whole affair at Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, a carousel that still hosts traveling troupes, with delighted children in the audience. The fantastical emborderies and vivid prints seen in yesterday’s collection also had playful childlike appeal in its dazzling colors and visions of exotic animals, but this collection was no child’s play.
Gorgeously structured dresses were sent down the runway, several of which displayed hundreds of parts stitched and assembled to reveal tiger heads, flying birds and other wondrous creations. A fabulous latticework gave several of the dresses a peek-a-boo effect or was manipulated to look like lace, giving the dresses greater sex appeal. The show also included chimpanzee and lion head Swarovski-encrusted purses, crystal birds perched on shoulders and falcon headpieces mechanically flapping in the wind. As we have come to expect, Arora delivered an exquisite, sophisticated drama.