Manish Arora did street style. Not the kind you're used to, but the scrappy pop visuals of graffiti and street art, merged with his own OTT sensibility, highly detailed workmanship, and the classic couture silhouettes he tapped into last season. Appropriately, Fall's mise-en-scène was an industrial open-air space on the river where a hoodie-clad crew—Parisian graffiti artists Rude, Vizion, and Broke—spray-painted the backdrop as models walked on by. (Be thankful Style.com isn't yet scent-enabled. Those fumes were a shock to the brain cells.)
What Arora does is still quite happily a bit cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. He's a guy who could out-Gaga the Lady herself. But this new injection of relative reality—which last season he attributed to wanting to let his freak flag fly at his other job as Paco Rabanne's creative director—can make his ideas and meticulous execution shine. Take the polished little satin skirtsuit or cocoon coat printed all over with surreal highlighter-hued faces and appliquéd with cherry blossoms (the motif was the work of Brooklyn street artist Judith Supine, whose images Arora found while researching, and which were used throughout). Or a New Look-ish skirt in iridescent laser-cut leather paired with a tulle blouse dotted with flowers, with not a golden ribcage in sight. A touch more reality: Arora's continuing collaboration with Notify Jeans.
For his typically grand finale, a parade of ten models in crinoline-puffed graffiti-print dresses marched out to pose in front of the freshly sprayed-on handiwork, which ended up reading "Life Is Beautiful." In Arora's world, it's fun too.