September 26, 2013 Paris
In envisioning Josephine Baker at a rave, Arora gave himself license to incorporate fluoro Art Deco patterns and kaleidoscopic botanicals in a single outfit. If you accept that restraint isn't his style, the pattern clash activated the eye—even more so when broken up by Necker cubes (the Escher-esque geometric pattern that appears on bistro floors all over Paris). The thing about Arora is that all of the visual noise is backed up with exceptional beading and hand embellishment, all executed in his home country, India. The surface treatments are not arbitrary; they represent his cultural influence. Yet this might have buried his other key message: The designer sent out a surprisingly sporty, lightweight collection—one that was anchored by pebbly sweatshirts, waterproof parkas, embellished backpacks, and knitted flapper dresses. Only the unwieldy plastic bead fringes and heavier brushed cotton seemed ill suited to a night of dancing.
Arora rehashed and remixed M.I.A.'s "Bad Girls" as the soundtrack—she's a friend, apparently—and surely she would appreciate the riot of emoji-style lipstick, heart, and airplane motifs (the last an arbitrary nod to Amelia Earhart). Overall, Arora's devil remains obstinately devoted to detail.