Manish Arora SS20:
“Live the Life you Love and Love the Life you Live”
Inside a tiny, ornate passageway in Paris, Indian designer Manish Arora staged a show full of diverse models from the Instagram beauty world, drag culture, and more. The collection celebrates family bonds that go beyond the biological ones we’re given. In the style of a traditional cabaret, the make-up proved theatrical, models posed and vogued to a special rendition of Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family”. This group of models: an LGBTQAI team, was defined as an “army of dreamers that defy dogma and definition,” the show notes explained.
What is the inspiration behind this SS20 collection?
The Spring Summer 2020 collection celebrates the creative energies of people that dare to defend their dream, it is a collection that fuels their passion and provides a passage for their creativity in an explosion of colour.
People remarked that a private showcase is even better than runway shows. You really get a sense of the details that go into each piece. Why did you decide on a presentation rather than a runway?
I wanted people to take the time to appreciate the craftsmanship and more importantly, the spirit of this tribe that firmly believes that life is beautiful as long as you “Live the Life you Love and Love the Life you Live”.
The designer pointed out that the LGBTQ community was celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Indian Supreme Court’s decision to strike down section 377, thereby decriminalizing homosexual relationships there. “Finally, we are all one, in India too,” he said. “To commemorate that, we wanted to bring together our family with very special people and friends from all over.”
Your showcase highlights the celebration of the one-year anniversary of an Indian Supreme Court’s decision, do you always have the LGBTQ+ cause in mind while creating?
My collections are focused on bringing joy to people, celebrating life and its most beautiful emotions - love and happiness. For Spring Summer 2020, I wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Indian Supreme Court’s decision and reemphasize that ‘Love is Love’ and that it wins all.
Intensely embroidered outfits in butterfly colours are Arora’s version of office girls’ attire, for example, a colour flow of a sequined suit modelled by Dragoness Lola von Flame, the alter-ego of fellow fashion designer Laurent Mercier; or perhaps a tangerine skirt done in colourful mandalas and gold trim. The showcase also offered an opportunity to reprise favourite archival silhouettes and mix those with “all things bright and beautiful” including metallic gold corsets, outsize bows, and new iterations of the sweatshirts Arora’s fans can’t get enough of, plus an extra helping of fringe.
So, family is an important theme this season. What does family mean to you?
Family is above all else. I think it goes beyond biological bonds - it is a world that is created by love.
All this glamourous representation was also a teaser of sorts. Indeed, by year’s end, Manish Arora will open his first store in India, in Delhi. Then, in 2021, he will stage a 30th-anniversary presentation at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. “There are many exciting things on the horizon, I look forward to opening my first store in India later this year; some interesting collaborations on the cards as well.”
By Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle
Photos by Aleyah Solomon