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Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Tribal and Celestial At Manish Arora

Manish Arora takes his bow after his ebullient tenth anniversary collection in Paris earlier this month. Photograph and cover picture by Elli Ioannou for DAM 
Fashion designer Manish Arora started his career in Mumbai but this season celebrated 10 years of showing his ready-to-wear collections in Paris. His latest runway show mixed the tribal with the galactic, burgeoning with coveted pieces such as form fitting, embellished denim with brilliant colours and embroidery~ key trends for the autumn/winter 2017 season. We take a look back at his career and his vivid new work that is sleeker but still has his bohemian signature, Jeanne-Marie Cilento writes. Photography by Elli Ioannou

Psychedelic tribal motifs
MARKING ten years of ready-to-wear collections in Paris, Manish Arora held his latest show in the great domed edifice of the Grand Palais, rather than at the more cramped and eccentric spaces of previous seasons. Called Cosmic Love, the new show was full of whimsical astronomical references, strong colour and rich embroidery. Considered by many as the John Galliano of India, Arora's collections are known for their palette of luminescent colours and eclectic motifs that combine traditional Indian artisan workmanship such as appliqué and beading with Western silhouettes. Arora's collection in Paris was set to tribal beats and burst with a bevy of contrasting textures, patterns and ideas. African tribal tropes mixed with celestial themes, including tall head dresses, embroidered wraps and pearls decorating models’ faces.

Called Cosmic Love, the new show was full of whimsical astronomical motifs, strong colour and rich embroidery

Shooting stars & celestial galaxies
The designer started out life in India, growing up in Mumbai and going on to study commerce at university before applying for the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi. By1994 he had graduated, winning a Best Student Award. Only three years later, Manish Arora launched his own eponymous label in India. By 2000, he was part of the first India Fashion Week held in New Delhi and then showed at the Hong Kong Fashion Week. A year later, the designer launched his second label, Fish Fry with Reebok, which has been an ongoing association. He opened his first flagship store, Manish Arora Fish Fry, in New Delhi, a second store in Mumbai with others following in Kuwait. By the time he had had another successful show at India Fashion Week in 2003, Maria Luisa in Paris began stocking his pieces and he launched his international business.

Arora has continued to be awarded, including the Best Women's Designer at the Indian Fashion Awards in 2004 held in Bombay and at Miami Fashion Week, where he was presented with the designer's choice for Best Collection Award. He expanded his label into the UK, debuting his collection at London Fashion Week in September 2005 where he received a great response from both press and buyers. Arora has exhibited some of his work, including jewellery, at the Victoria & Albert Museum for various exhibitions. Last year he received the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and wore the insignia this month as part of an Indian delegation invited to meet Queen Elizabeth II, part of the U.K India Year of Culture.

Last year Manish Arora received the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and wore the insignia this month as part of an Indian delegation invited to meet Queen Elizabeth II

Embroidered denim & velvet booties
Against the backdrop of a Europe in crisis, Manish Arora's  Cosmic Love collection in Paris celebrated a happier vision of the future, perhaps reflecting his own success and his ten years showing in the French capital. The festive aesthetic and space age references included shooting stars and sunbursts, meteors,  paisley patterns and Swarovski crystals on silk and velvet tunics. This season, Arora's usual eccentric collection of people wearing his clothes was replaced with lithe models in a more streamlined yet exotic collection. He mixed earthy tribal motifs, Aztec, Art Deco and peacock prints with spacey rockets, planets, and constellations. Apart from the embroidery and crystals mixed with digital prints, he created figure-hugging denim that was treated with appliqué, hand-cut velvet and wool patchwork. These denim pieces all looked very wearable (without the tall head pieces) as did the bomber jackets, silk trousers and velvet booties encrusted with sparkling diamante.

This season, Arora's designs had a deeper, richer palette with ochres, dark green, royal blue and burgundy ~ all enhanced by opulent fabrics like velvet, silk twill and boiled wool. The galactic leitmotifs of planets and shooting stars were printed or embroidered on to sweatshirts, coats and dresses and contrasted with the more geometric, diamond-shaped Aztec designs that had a Seventies feel. Peacock embroidery featured on lavish gowns including the paisley patterns embellished with crystals. Arora’s new sweatshirts reinterpreted the genre in magenta velvets and silk and designed with stars and space stations while intergalactic prints on colourful padded coats and moon-shaped handbags added to the picture of a contemporary, athletic collection with stylish silhouettes and a dash of whimsy enriched by the embroidery of new galaxies and stars.

Tap on photographs for full-screen slideshow
High head dresses and fringed, woven neck pieces with Seventies style patterns created Manish Arora's eclectic aesthetic

Rich velvet and embroidered capes in bright pink, red and blue


Crystal encrusted gown with sunbursts and paisley decoration with deep-red boots


Fuchsia pink, red and yellow enliven a blouson top and full skirt
 
 Tall head dress, digitally printed shooting stars on a tunic top, swirling zebra stripes and sparkling, embellished boots.
 
Fringed, knottted necklaces added to the tribal ethos 
Brilliant emerald green peacock feathers, black ruching and burgundy velvet, studded booties
Starbursts, planets and paisley on silk and velvet 
Sweatshirts with digitally printed galaxies and planets
 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Street Style: Critical Mass in Milan and Paris

Stopping traffic in Paris, Italian street style star Chiara Ferragni wearing Dior. Photographed outside the Dior show at the Musee Rodin by Elli Ioannou. Cover picture at Ferragamo in Milan by Kseniya Segina
Street fashion pitstops outside shows in Paris & Milan have become alternative runways, stages for the exuberant & extroverted. The past decade has seen an explosion in both photographers and their willing subjects at fashion weeks. But it's becoming more difficult to be noticed among the crowds & to make a career from shooting them, Jeanne-Marie Cilento writes. Photography in Paris by Elli Ioannou and in Milan by Kseniya Segina.

Photographers' quarry at the Rodin Museum
ON a grey and cloudy day in the French capital at the Rodin Museum, all you can hear is the crunch of feet on the Parisian white gravel, chattering voices, the call of photographers and the incessant whirr of cameras snapping. The French police are out in force and the street has been closed off. It is the day of Maria Grazia Chiuri's ready-to-wear show for Christian Dior and street style photographers and their subjects are beginning their dance of posing and shooting that will go on before and after the show. Like the ebb and flow of the sea, the photographers, photojournalists, bloggers and TV crews wash around one street style star, who stands alone like an island in an ocean of cameras, before they move en masse to their next willing quarry.

Like the ebb and flow of the sea, photographers wash around one street style star, who stands alone like an island in an ocean of cameras.

 Winnie Harlow outside Dior in Paris
Among the scrum, are models of the moment like Canadian Winnie Harlow, Italian fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni and American Vogue's creative director Grace Coddington. Even though it is a cold, wintry day German blogger Caroline Daur's arms and torso are bare but for a horizontal sliver of Dior with thin straps and loose, high-waisted trousers. The only thing that looks warm is her fluffy, bright orange purse. Across town, another band of enthusiastic guests stand outside Indian couturier Manish Arora's show wearing his signature vividly hued pieces and their own brand of colourful maximalism. Singer Aria wears one of the designer's long, silken gowns in bright pink decorated with tiny sea animals like coloured candy. A few days earlier in Milan, the street style photographers were arriving at the Italian designers' shows waiting to shoot not only Vogue Japan's editor-at-large Anna Dello Russo, an original fashion favourite famous for her extravagant outfits, plus a panopoly of uber models including Bianca Balti, but also interesting-looking people wearing their own mix of high and low fashion. Some of the bloggers, actresses or digital influencers wear a "total look" of the design house like a walking billboard for the brand while others combine one piece from a designer's current season sith earlier pieces and cheap chic from Top Shop or Zara.

What is worn on the runway during Milan and Paris fashion weeks has always commanded attention around the world ~ today acres of pictures are also now devoted to what is worn off the catwalk.

Style star Anna Dello Russo in Milan
While what is on the runway during Milan and Paris fashion weeks has always commanded attention around the world, today acres of digital pictures are also now devoted to what is worn off the catwalk. Street style has become it's own industry taking up many column inches online and in print. The late American photographer Bill Cunningham brought street style to readers in his New York Times columns, On the Street and Evening Hours, chronicling the city’s inhabitants from the fashionable to the frankly eccentric. In his nearly 40 years working for The Times, Bill Cunningham covered New York on his bike recording a history of 20th and 21st Century dress and social mores. But the rise of the blog and the use of the internet to publish pictures really took off a decade ago. American self-taught photographer Scott Schuman set the trend with his The Sartorialist blog in 2006, shooting people who looked stylish yet natural at the same time in the New York streets ~ he wanted to connect fashion and quotidian life. The Sartorialist soon became a must read for those curious about style on the streets of the world's capital cities and those working in the industry who wanted Schuman to shoot campaigns for fashion houses and magazines.

The late American photographer Bill Cunningham brought street fashion to readers in his New York Times' columns, 'On the Street' and 'Evening Hours', chronicling the city’s inhabitants from the fashionable to the frankly eccentric.

Today, although there has been a rise and fall and rise in the popularity of street style within the
Nicole Warne in Milan 
fashion industry, every season there appears to be more photographers and more willing ~ and aiming ~ to be photographed. While The Blonde Salad's Italian blogger Chiara Ferragni and Gary Pepper Girl's Australian Nicole Warne built their careers on being street style favourites and became self-made stars within the street fashion firmament, both have moved on to create business interests from their original popularity as bloggers. Ferragni has broadened her interests to include a range of footwear and is building an extensive e-commerce website. She has broken out from the online blogger mould and has been photographed for more than 50 covers of well-known print magazines. Even Harvard University did a special report on The Blonde Salad blog and how Ferragni and her partner Riccardo Pozzoli turned it into a business. Since Pozzoli, Ferragni's boyfriend of the time, started taking pictures of her in Milan's streets in 2009, street fashion has exploded. Today, the sheer number of photographers and people wanting to be photographed has grown so exponentially it is increasingly difficult for photographers to make any money from it and for wannabe style stars to get any attention.

For anthropologists curious about the human social condition to followers of fashion, pictures of people in the street wearing both the bizarre and the banal has an enduring fascination.

However, for the readers and followers of fashion, the pictures of people in the street wearing both the bizarre and the banal has an enduring fascination. While images of impossibly slim, teenage models who are coiffed to perfection walking the runway has a distancing effect, those of people wearing their own concoctions and pictured in an urban environment still seems to offer a window into the fashion world that is much easier to relate to. Although only the very few will be able to make a viable career out of either being photographed or working as the photographer taking them, our keen interest in looking at what other people are wearing is a human trait that is unlikely to wane.

The Sartorialist's Jenny Walton in Milan
Street fashion originally emerged not from photographic studios, but from what people are wearing in cities. It began with youth culture, beginning in urban places all around the world. Newspapers and magazines began to feature photographs of people in the street wearing stylish, eccentric and individual outfits with a certain amount of insouciance. Japanese street style has been one of the great propellers of street style with many diverse movements happening all at once that are then co-opted by fashion designers for their own collections. Many of these trends have been chronicled by Shoichi Aoki since 1997 in the fashion magazine Fruits.

Since the late 19th Century, there have been pictures of fashionable ladies photographed in the street, particularly in Paris. But the modern sense of street fashion only really took hold in the 1960s. The concept of photographers shooting outside the studio and capturing what people are wearing in the street goes back to Japan again. Though the styles have changed over the years, street fashion is still prominent in Tokyo today. Subcultures have formed in large urban fashion districts such as Harajuku, Aoyama, Ginza, Odaiba, Shinjuku and Shibuya. Street fashion in Japan is created from a mix of both local and foreign labels and some of the styles are extreme and avant-garde, similar to the haute couture seen on European catwalks and now outside fashion shows.

Tap pictures for a full-screen slideshow of street style in Milan and Paris
Italian dandy Niccolo Cesari in suit and tie with a touch of flair and a burnt orange overcoat in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina


 Italian blogger Chiara Ferragni is surrounded by photographers and fans in Paris at the Dior show.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou

Photographers in a scrum outside Dolce & Gabbana's Metropol Theatre in Milan.
Shot by Kseniya Segina

Filippo Bologni mixing classic checks and sportswear in Milan outside the Etro show.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina


Billowing Dior in Paris at the Rodin Museum.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
Canadian model Winnie Harlow is surrounded by television cameras in Paris at Dior.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
At the Gucci show in Milan, musician Maxime Sokolinski.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Camel-hued overcoats and patterned scarves in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Black and white elegance in Paris outside of the Dior show.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
Black leather, black jeans and tiny clutch at the Rodin Museum in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
On a wintry day in Paris, German blogger Caroline Daur wears a sliver of Dior to the show at the Rodin Museum.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
 Gilda Ambrosio in Milan during fashion week.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Captured looking casual in Milan, model Elsa Hosk.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Bright red flowing skirt and leather jacket at Dior in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou

Sleek hair and chignon outside Armani in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Cherry-red roll-neck and smooth, plaited chignon at Armani.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Vivid colour and pattern outside the Grand Palais in Paris, before the Manish Arora show. Photographed by Elli Ioannou

 Classic camel shirt and gold make for a stylish getaway in Paris at Dior.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou

Grace Coddington, creative director for American Vogue, in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou

Meimei Zhao wearing a white space age outfit with brilliant heels finished with depictions of small warning signs.
Photographed during Paris Fashion Week by Elli Ioannou  
Denim and Diesel in Milan at Armani.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina

Spiky leather jacket and Moschino phone case makes a sharp look in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
High and low heels and a Saint Laurent bag at Dolce & Gabbana in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
 Singer Aria in pink dress decorated with tiny sea creatures at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
Butterfly high heels and a buttercup yellow dress at Manish Arora in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
Seventies style cool in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
At Marni in Milan, Daria Shapovalov wears velvet flower-strewn denim.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina

Denim on denim with gold, low-heeled pumps at Manish Arora in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou 
Fervent fans mixing brilliant colour and floral patterns with pink-lipped shoes at Manish Arora.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
Denim overalls and checked shirt at Fendi in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Fringed, yellow earrings, faux fur and denim makes a street style star in Milan at Pucci.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Nose ring and rainbow coloured jacket outside Manish Arora's show at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
Black lace and white stripes at Manish Arora's show in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
Bomber jacket and red-check grunge on the way to Pucci in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Black leather jacket ~ a perennial fashion favourite ~ at the Etro show in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Simone Marchetti, fashion editor at La Repubblica, outside the Dior show in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
Black and white printed sweater with paisley-patterned ruched skirt in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina

Feminine ruffles and embroidered jacket at Milan Fashion Week.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina

Barbora Podzimkova at Ferragamo in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina

Carlotta Oddi, Chiara Totire and Anna Dello Russo and in Milan during fashion week.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina

Model Bianca Balti in Milan during fashion week.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina

 Silky blue bomber jacket and jeans in Milan at Dolce & Gabbana.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Purple and blue in Milan make another Italian dandy at Ferragamo.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Fun at Milan Fashion Week.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Sackcloth and a white,scalloped head scarf make an eccentric mix in Paris.
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
White eyelashes and burgundy and camel at Pucci in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Roberta Ruiu at Milan Fashion Week in pale green lace.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
A single diamante is this girl's only make up in Milan. Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Photographers surround Giorgio Armani at his fashion show in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Carlotta Oddi at Armani during Milan Fashion Week RTW AW17
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Tamu McPherson wearing a check overcoat with bright blue collar at Marni in Milan.
Photographed by Kseniya Segina
Tulle and sequins with a bamboo handbag make a whimsical look in wintry Paris for the ready-to-wear AW17 collections
Photographed by Elli Ioannou
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