For a leading light of Indian fashion, all that glitters is not gold
In September, Manish Arora, a fashion designer once described as the “John Galliano of India,” announced that he was creating a pop-up restaurant in Paris, his adopted hometown, for the Holi festival. An Instagram slideshow, featuring the brightly coloured maximalism that is the Indian designer’s signature, depicted Arora with assorted friends sampling traditional Indian snacks.
Days later, he introduced a high-profile fashion collaboration with Amazon India, alongside three more of India’s most celebrated designers: JJ Valaya, Ashish Soni and Suneet Varma. Arora is also currently a member of the advisory council for the International Woolmark Prize, one of the most prestigious fashion awards in the world.
At first blush, such ventures would seem like savvy lifestyle brand extensions for Arora, a former creative director of French fashion house Paco Rabanne and the first Indian designer to make it big in Paris. His aesthetic defined Indian-fusion style for Westerners in the late aughts, with a riotous palette and Indian craft methods like embroidery and appliqué.
But Arora’s brand partnerships it turns out, seem to be more like belated attempts to save a business beset by years of chaos and financial troubles than an indication of success.