Aside from the slightly random vignette of theater (starring the transcendent Rossy de Palma) that opened Manish Arora's show, his Spring collection's most shocking statement was… normalcy. After the show, Maria Luisa Poumaillou, who falls light years away on the style spectrum from typical Arora-ites like Nicki Minaj, gushed that she wanted to wear it. The effect was wholly intended. As Arora explained, his aim was easy clothes and believability, and to set this collection apart from what he's planning for his debut at Paco Rabanne a few days from now. "That's going to be a show," he warned.
Of course, normalcy is a relative term with Arora. He may have hopped on the elegant sixties-couture bandwagon, but the version he showed was still very much his own, which meant a bit alien and kookily futuristic. An iridescent metallic appliqué minidress trimmed with blush marabou might have been the chicest thing in Barbarella's closet. The pearl mesh of a peplumed checked dress looked like circuitry, and a party frock pieced with sharp panels of double-faced satin and sequins was lovely, but might make a Trekkie fall in love with you. It was all wearable, but certainly not run-of-the-mill, and never boring.
Some of the clothes were quite beautiful: The dégradé effect of black and white butterfly-wing sequins bursting into a ruff of feathers on a midi dress certainly qualified. Arora wrapped things up on a clean and pop note with a photo print abstracted from a picture taken by Robert Altman at 1970's Holy Man Jam festival. That was a time when the future really was imagined to be kooky and bright. Those smiling and clapping faces on standaway coats and skinny cigarette pants were having just as much fun as Arora seems to have designing his clothes.