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April 20 2014

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The Manish Arora Recipe:
Tears And Tandoori

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Manish Arora works between New Delhi and Paris, but that’s been no deterrent in his current mini-takeover of Mercer Street. You can see his unmistakable kaleidoscopic and cartoony visual stamp in the windows of the Nespresso store at the corner of Prince Street, and if you wander south, you’ll now stumble upon his new jewelry collection with Swarovski at the Crystallized store between Spring and Broome. Gathered last night to celebrate the latter was an impressive crowd of subcontinental talents: director Mira Nair, actor-cum-jeweler Waris Ahluwalia, and designers Bibhu Mohaptra, Prabal Gurung, and Rachel Roy.

“I remember his first show,” said Gurung (left, with the designer), who worked for Arora right after graduating from New Delhi’s National Institute of Fashion. “It was the Hotel Parth. There wasn’t a single person who wasn’t crying during the finale.”

“There’s always a lot of crying at my shows,” laughed Arora. “I don’t know why.”

“People had been waiting for him to do his own stuff,” Gurung continued. “When he launched, everything came free. The models did it for free. The only thing he paid for was the clothes. I remember there was a model eating a chicken tandoori.” On the runway? Yes.

Not that Arora’s shows have mellowed much in the intervening 14 years. Recall the eye-popping Spring 2011 dress topped with a sculpted gold ribcage worn recently by Gaga-esque fashion savant Nicki Minaj. Arora’s Swarovski pieces—a series of heart-shaped crystal pendants—are relatively understated but no less stylish. At any rate, fashion’s romance with Arora may further flourish if the rumors that he’s up to helm Paco Rabanne have any truth. To that end, Arora issued no denials. We’ll take that as a strong maybe.

Photo: Chance Yeh / PatrickMcMullan.com

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