My Paco Rabanne designs to be easily accessible: Manish Arora (Interview)

By Shilpa Raina, IANS
Monday, February 21, 2011

NEW DELHI - Indian designer Manish Arora has been roped in as creative-artistic director for Spanish brand Paco Rabanne, which is looking for a comeback with women’s wear. Based mostly in Paris, he says his creations won’t be time-bound and will be easily accessible to the modern woman.

Arora will showcase his first collection with the fashion house during the Paris Fashion Week in October 2011, but refuses to reveal whether there will be an Indian influence.

“I cannot comment on this. Currently I’m busy working on the autumn-winter 2011-2012 collection for Manish Arora, Paris,” Arora told IANS.

“Who knows what I will be inspired by when I begin work on the line for Paco Rabanne. But one thing is sure that the clothes will be easily accessible to modern woman. The designs will not be time-bound,” he added.

The New Delhi-based designer has been in the business since 1997 and in more than a decade he has made a name in the Indian fashion circuit as well as abroad.

An alumnus of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi, he launched his label “Manish Arora” in 1997 and came up in 2001 with the second label “Fish Fry”. Today, his label is available in 84 stores worldwide.

Interestingly, Paco Rabanne’s design sensibilities are similar to Arora’s creative innovations. The Spanish designer had launched his label in 1966 and is known for the dresses made of metal discs. He retired in 2000 and the fashion house was shut in 2006.

Now when the European brand is looking at making a comeback in the ready-to-wear industry, Arora’s imagination will help them in revamping the brand.

“Unknowingly, Paco Rabanne and my ideologies have a lot of similarity. We’ve both worked with unconventional materials and are known for taking things to the next level. We’ve had similar inspirations, used similar techniques and have worked with architectural structures,” he said.

“The line for the label will be a ready-to-wear range. While designing for Paco Rabanne, I will have to keep the brand history, ideology and image in mind. The clothes will have my signature touch but will be different from what I create for my label,” he added.

Taking this opportunity as a challenge, Arora said: “New ventures are always challenging. I am glad that I have an opportunity to be part of this (Paco Rabanne). It is a very big responsibility, at the same time very exciting. I will be putting in my best and hope I do justice to my position in the house.”

Arora’s love for Paris is no secret as he spends the maximum time there, thus missing the fashion weeks in India.

“I have not showcased at fashion weeks in India since 2009. Yes, I have done sponsor shows…But as far as the business is considered, my main clientele is based in Europe and the Middle East; so showcasing in Paris is more favourable to my label,” he said.

“I have another range that is focussed only on the Indian market - Indian by Manish Arora. I have a stall at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week each season,” he said.

Despite this, the designer says India will always be close to him.

“I have one foot in India and the other in France. However, there are no preferences - each place has its own charm. But India will always be home.”

The maverick designer is not for churning out a creative blend of designs in psychedelic colours that are innovative, stylish and different and not everyone’s cup of tea. But he believes a confident woman can do justice to his designs.

“I don’t think my designs are out of the box… Yes, they are different and innovative, but it is still fashion. My clients are not bound by age or location. The women who wear my clothes are confident individuals - she is a modern woman with a unique perspective towards everything in life,” said the designer who also has a website:

Arora’s creativity is not restricted to the ramp - he tied up with a variety of brands like cosmetic giant MAC, sports brand Reebok for Fish Fry funky shoes, Swarovski for jewellery and Nivea to design a limited edition of jars.

“There are many designers that have collaborated with firms - Karl Lagerfeld with Coca-Cola, Lavin with H&M, Vivienne Westwood with Chivas, Alexander Mc Queen with Samsonite - to name a few. Collaborations are the best way to introduce your brand to new markets - it has the widest outreach,” he said.

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at

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