Last Wednesday, the final leg of fashion week began in Paris. Already, there have been amazing showings, particularly from Balenciaga and Haider Ackermann. There are still many more highly anticipated shows to come (Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, to name a few).

Every fashion week, designers make decisions on how to best showcase their collections, and at times those choices are made because of costs and budgets. Fashion shows including the full production of music, runways and large seating areas, are the most expensive. Established, aka wealthy fashion houses, almost always utilize this option because it allows more room for press, editors and buyers. Other show options include presentations or photo shoots.

The whole point of having a fashion show is not only to showcase the garments, but also to create or help pronounce brand identity through music and décor. Everything about the fashion show is to make the collection and brand look as appealing as possible. With that in mind, many designers navigate safe water in an attempt to either present a sober idea in a clean, concise show. However, there have always been designers who believe in showmanship.

The idea that fashion shows should be fun, theatrical, interesting, shocking, that they should provoke some sort of reaction or emotion in the audience. The garments are important, but the show itself should be an event, that the audience should be transported.

Galliano taking his bow at Dior show

In recent years, the best examples of this tradition of extravagant and mind-blowing shows have come from Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. The two have created shows that left the audience in awe or tears. Either way, there was feeling and intense emotion related to the experience of attending their shows. Lately, that element seems to be missing a bit.

Mcqueen SS 2005

Or so it was. Good thing for Manish Arora. Arora is an Indian designer, born, raised and educated in New Delhi whose love for colors and theatrics has revived the opulence of fashion shows. His latest collection began with models sitting at actual tea tables in the middle of the runway. The tables were absolutely beautiful and luxurious, topped with precious hookahs and teapots. This alone set the tone for the visual experience Arora presented with his garments.

His main critique is often the wearability of his creations, but then again, many designers have been told their garments were unwearable. He provides dreams and imagination by allowing the audience to remember that first and foremost, fashion is fun. There’s a reason everyone keeps coming back.

-Nadjma Sako

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