Street art shakes up catwalk at Manish Arora

AFP Relax NewsMarch 1, 2012
Street art shakes up catwalk at Manish Arora

Nineteen-fifties silhouettes in nipped-waist dresses, lit up by subversive images lifted from Brooklyn street art: India's Manish Arora offered bright, bold contrasts at Paris fashion week on Thursday.

A cast of black-hooded graffiti artists set the scene as Arora showcased his his new autumn-winter look in an open-air setting, under a concrete overhang on the banks of the Seine, spray-painting the words "Life is beautiful".

"I'm very attracted to street art," said the designer after the show. "It deserves a lot more attention than it gets."

For the collection, the designer met artists from the Brooklyn based Judith Supine, whose bright-coloured, surreal work Arora superimposed onto his clothes, to a trio of Paris graffiti artists called Rude, Vision and Broke.

On the catwalk, a brick wall motif suggested the street artists' canvas, used on black velvet tops and retro small-waisted, flared gowns that were illuminated with flashes of emerald green, sapphire blue or fuchsia pink.

Motifs ranged from urban landscapes, to fragmented figures or faces, or bright red kissing lips dotted all over a black knee-length dress under a little black bolero.

Hair was rolled into chignons and hidden beneath unpolished gold plumage-like hairpieces, a futuristic note echoed with laser-cut bodices in irridescent green or gold, ending in tiny flounced mini-skirts.

For the finale, Arora sent out 10 models in floaty, flared-skirt dresses whose fluo colours and curves picked up on the show's wall of graffiti.

"For my world the colours were subdued," he joked afterwards. "But it's not just about the clothes. I fell in love with this venue. For me a show has to be a 'show'," Arora smiled. "Otherwise you can just go to a showroom."