Manish Arora has been pushing the “Life Is Beautiful” theme — his life motto, it seems — for a couple of seasons now. But in these times, nobody’s complaining. The irreverent Indian designer, who in February was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, managed to turn the world multiple colors for a moment.
The characteristically camp collection channeled Fifties America meets Pierre et Gilles with varsity jackets worked in nautical stripes and coral prints; full circle skirts embroidered with candy motifs and glittering beach scenes, hot air balloons drifting into the sky; embroidered sailor tops and sequin skirts in rainbow swirls reinterpreted on sundresses by Indian bindi artist Bharti Kher. Accessories ranged from rhinestone fish bags to brothel creepers with rainbow soles customized by Paris-based artist Nikos.
The delirious creations were modeled on a vibrant mix of personalities, one clutching a bright blue Pomeranian (last season’s pooch wore purple, apparently). The startled creature had to share the spotlight with My Little Pony, with the Hasbro hero embroidered on sweatshirts with rainbow trims that had a kawaii charm. (What was that about the designer going in a more grow-up direction? Who cares!) The escapist, mood-booster collection — a celebration of the plain silly — ended to the perfect soundtrack: R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People.”