On Feb. 1, 1966, Paco Rabanne caused a frenzy with his provocative collection of so-called “12 Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials,” featuring barefoot models wearing dresses of Rhodoid plastic cut into strips and held together by metal rings. Manish Arora, in his debut effort as the house’s new creative director charged with reigniting the brand’s dormant fashion business, also trod the unwearable route — but more in the sense of the uninspiring brashness of his sci-fi lineup than in terms of innovation. Strong-shouldered metallic and sequined dresses in curvaceous shapes recalled Thierry Mugler more than Rabanne, and were topped with flying-saucer hats by Philip Treacy. In a collection centered on light, Arora reinterpreted Rabanne’s signature chain-mail dresses in less weighty materials like metallic python and hologram plastic, but the awkward shuffle of the models suggested these numbers were not very maneuverable. In the end, his lineup rang more like a marketing gimmick than a credible new departure for an iconic name.

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