Manish Arora, known for his psychedelic colors and extravagant design, is set to launch his first fragrance in mid-March. He’s also celebrating a new studio space in a vibrant, arty suburb of New Delhi, not to mention marking 10 years of showing at Paris Fashion Week with his collection on March 1.
Along with the fresh start in a new creative space, Arora paid homage to the past. Installations representing some of his finest work, as well as favorite pieces, brought together memory and a sense of celebration.
“Ten years of Paris Fashion Week,” Arora said looking it over, his eyes brightening. “I can’t believe it. And I’m still there.”
Does he take his longevity for granted?
“No,” he replied. “Settled. With a new studio, it’s going to be a new, improved Manish Arora. Like how they say on the detergent packet. I’m ready for the next phase.”
The Manish Arora fragrance will be launched in three 40-ml. variants and will reflect a theme Arora has long espoused; it is called “Ready to Love.” “It’s inspired by a mix of my loves,” Arora explained. “Intense Red is about passion. Deep Orange is my connection to India, so it has a strong flavor of jasmine in it, along with other ingredients. And Hot Pink is about my childhood memories because I love candies and cupcakes.
“More is less for me,” he remarked. “That is true of my designs, and that is what you will feel with the fragrance as well. It is crossing into a new area.”
The idea of breaking barriers is now an old one for Arora, who has made collaborations across many different genres, including a limited-edition makeup collection with MAC Cosmetics. “But you know, I never thought I could make perfume. I was approached by two of the big companies, Firmenich and Givaudan, kind of at a similar time. Then I went ahead and worked with Firmenich; they planted the idea in my mind that because my brand is so unique that it’s easy to create a one-of-a-kind perfume with it. In any case, I always do remember things because of smell.”
Arora’s association with Paris is more than the sum of showing his own collections in the city: He worked as creative director of women’s wear for French fashion house Paco Rabanne from 2011 to 2012 and had the rare honor of being presented with the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2016.
“Indians hadn’t noticed me yet, but the French did,” Arora said wryly.
Arora is ready to make note of the Indian market though. He said that with his design workspace in the Dhan Mill Compound in Chhatarpur, an area surrounded by upscale residential farm houses, he is feeling inspired. “The Manish Arora line will now be available globally, including in India,” he said, having shut down the previous and separate line he had for the country. “Things have changed a lot in India these past seven years, and customers are now ready for a different approach.”
Arora has been focusing on global retail growth in the last three months, with the launch of his first two Manish Arora stores in China — in Shanghai and Suzhou in December, with plans to open three more this year.
“China is my biggest market at this time,” he observed, “followed by the Middle East.”