Manish Arora received some sage advice from a grande dame of Paris retail: that he needed to lighten up. Not his spirit—Arora is as jolly as designers come—but his fixation with ornamentation. It’s all relative, of course. Scale back the embellishments on Arora’s designs by half and they would still qualify as maximalist by most standards. It was clear today, though, that he took her words to heart—at least to the extent that a fluorescent eye or nose-ringed goddess appeared across the final series of sweater dresses that will represent Arora’s entry-level retail offering. But even here, the Lurex yarn was iridescent, as if to underscore that the designer will never reject the trippy touches that bring him such joy.
So rather than go into further detail about the details—suffice it to say there were pearlescent astronauts, golden space pods, roses in high relief, and baseball caps emblazoned with some sort of republic of rococo motif—the collection was most compelling when Arora explored the possibilities of sheer paneling. Most often, he layered it atop embellishment to create a gauzy haze of foreground and background. But in a radical development for the designer, he also employed it as striped negative space. Leave Arora’s total looks for progressive pop stars like M.I.A. and Grimes (whose songs played throughout the show): One might go for the bike shorts, hooded robe, and “gladiator cyber sandals”; the other for the holographic crop top with printed palazzo pants and water-bottle belt. And he was clever to push the kaleidoscopic sportswear. It’s easy street-style bait. Otherwise, a gossamer T-shirt depicting Arora’s pastel otherworld might be as far out as the average fashion earthling is willing to go.