Monday, 23 February 2009

Maaike Mekking London Off schedule Sept 08

Attending Maaike Mekking's off-schedule show in a room above Beach Blanket Babylon was a fun in fairly uneventful evening. I was most interested in the striking black circle make-up which gave a dehumanising effect from the front and a more feline feel in profile. Take a look also at the cream trousers. At first I thought they were just Maike's take on the low crotch/hareem pant obsession. But actually they're Thai fisherman's trousers making another comeback. The last time they surfaced was about 4 years ago, but like so may fashions that never quite made it to the 'so ubiquitous we're all sick now' stage, they're back once more demanding their own place in baggy-crotch-trouser history.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Manish Arora Delhi Fashion week AW 08/09

The Indian fashion scene is a pretty wierd place and certainly none of it's output is more extraordinary in a sublime way than Mr Manish Arora's. When I chatted Indian fashion with a London based fashion journalist friend recently she told me that she associated it with all that is bright, colourful and expressive. Manish's designs are certainly all of of the above, but in actual fact the local taste is much more varied. On home turf, top designers like Rajesh Pratap Singh, Ashish Soni and Rohit Ghandi and Rahul Khanna all sell much subtler, largely monochromatic collections in comparatively high numbers. And when I went to a big party to mark the launch of Manish's travel programme at the Park Hotel, I saw loads of people having fun but didn't see a single outfit of his on any of the revellers. It seems though, that outside India we prefer our Desi designers a bit more extrovert and luckily this has lead to Manish having his own single rack at Dover Street Market and a handful of other outlets for a good few seasons. The show I attended in Delhi took its primary references from ice queens and armoured nights as well as the designer's old favourites: aliens and cyborgs.

When I lived in Delhi I think I confused the middle-aged shop attendants by making regular homages to Manish's boutique at Crescent Mall. I'd return again and again, partly to marvel at the amazingly intricate hand-stitched 'western and traditional' (ie Indian Sarees, Salwar kameez sets etc) ladieswear and partly in the secret hope that one day he might decide to drop in an item of menswear. Finally, after a year of visits, I was able to make my first Arora purchase: a characteristically multi-coloured silk scarf printed with a Bollywood love scene, a speech bubble which reads: 'will you marry me?' and a cheeky relief of Delhi auto-rickshaws which you can only notice at an intimate distance...