Well, that was a lot to look at. There was such a super-abundance of colors, prints, materials, embellishments, and themes at today's Manish Arora show, you sort of owed your eyes a break when it finished. How pleasing it would be, you thought, just to stare into the infinite blankness of a freshly painted white wall for a little while…At any rate, Arora does himself no favors by throwing so many ideas on the runway; the profusion makes it exceedingly difficult to extract key propositions, or standout looks. There were at least three collections jammed together here: one emphasizing splashy digital prints, another that hewed to the very Indian colors of pink and yellow and featured vaguely Deco black crystal embroidery, and then a natty group in textural navy and black that Arora had decorated with various kinds of jewel-like embellishment. In addition to that, there were a few ideas, distinct from the rest, that he seemed a bit less invested in, like the navy and green Lurex pieces or the velvet dresses heaving with chain.
The textural black and navy looks formed the collection within this collection that should have been the basis of the entire show. A little black dress with sculpted hips, which Arora had dappled with varied gold sequins that looked like they had spilled out of a junk drawer, was particularly fresh; it would have been nice to see him elaborate on that idea a bit more. But the trim skirts and tops with multicolor stones were nearly as fine and felt just as distinctive. You wouldn't mistake those pieces for the work of any other designer. There were some strong looks elsewhere in the collection as well, but none of them came quite so fully formed. Arora has a lot to say, but this season the message kept getting lost in the mix.