Manish Arora – Indian Fashion’s Sorcerer


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Manish Arora presents his Indian Collection

Manish Arora presents his Indian Collection – All photos by Kabir Chopra


Manish Arora’s Magnificent World of Colors

Designer Manish Arora’s creations are the fashion equivalent of getting drenched in Holi colors – there’s exuberance, joy and sheer chutzpah. Colors which you thought would never, ever go together are locked in a raucous embrace in his gorgeous ensembles – and look perfect together. Ask about his outrageous color alliances, and he says with a twinkle in his eye: “It’s all very natural and normal. Yellow, pink, green and turquoise in one garment is very normal! For me, I don’t think twice  – it just comes!”


Manish Arora Indian Collection

Manish Arora Indian Collection


His vibrant colors, striking fabrics and east-west silhouettes have won many fans around the world from celebrities like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, MIA and Kate Perry to all the fashionistas across continents. His couture is available at major international stores like Galleries Lafayette, Joyce and Beam and of course in India. His collaborations with Swarovski, Swatch, Reebok, Barbie, Mono Prix, Nespresso, Nivea, MAC Cosmetics have brought his work before an international audience, and he’s also been creative director of the fashion house of Paco Rabanne in Paris.


Manish Arora Collection

Indian by Manish Arora


Manish Arora’s Collection – Ringside Seats


Indian by Manish Arora

Recently Manish Arora was in New York to present his collection at the IAAC Gala and premiered his short film “Holi Holy” which draws attention to the plight of widows from Varanasi who only recently were permitted to celebrate the the festival of colors.  Arora also  inaugurated his new website in collaboration with Exclusively. in, a noted online retailer of India-inspired luxury goods.  The debut of the collection celebrates the launch of Manish Arora’s online store,  ‘INDIAN by Manish Arora’ is a contemporary collection which combines his signature style with Indian embellishments and embroideries  to create a contemporary fashion line in Indian wear.


Manish Arora with Sunjay Guleria & Mohini Boparai Guleria

Manish Arora with Sunjay Guleria & Mohini Boparai Guleria


The Making of a Fashion Designer

The next day I caught up with Manish Arora at an intimate cocktail to celebrate the launch at the showroom with its CEO Sunjay Guleria. While nibbling on Middle Eastern fare and sipping champagne, guests got to exploe Arora’s stunning pieces up close.  The designer himself was surrounded by old friends and new ones, but I did manage to get some time with him for a quickie interview. I asked him about the way his brand had exploded, and he said in quite a matter-of-fact way,  “I think it’s only just begun. I don’t think it’s exploded  – there’s still a lot to do – I feel I just started now!”


Srimoyi Bhattacharya, Lavina Melwani, Manish Arora & Poonam Khubani

Guests at IAAC Gala – Srimoyi Bhattacharya, Lavina Melwani, Manish Arora and Poonam Khubani. (Photo by Muhammad Jaffer of Snapsindia.)

An Interview with Manish Arora

Does he have any memories of wanting to be a famous designer when he was growing up? Did he ever work with fabric or sketched?  He grinned and shook his head, “It was not the plan – fashion was never an interest as a child. I was an average good student, better than some in art and drawing. I was studying commerce in Bombay and then I decided I was not interested in it. I read about fashion and wanted to explore it. There was only one fashion school at that time.  I just took a chance and applied to NIFT and I got through. After six months of that, I realized this is exactly what I wanted to do.”

It was a surprise to learn that he had pursued his fashion education in 1991. Arora laughed:  “I’m young – I’m only 41! I know people think I’m older because of my grey hair – but I love my grey hair!” I had to agree that it looked great.

Manish Arora is a relative newcomer to fashion, and was,  in fact, designer Rohit Bal’s assistant. He worked in the fashion industry for two years before starting his own brand in 2000, showing first in Fashion Week in India. The British Fashion Council saw his work and asked him to come to the London Fashion Week and he started showing there. “Then in the Paris Fashion Week – and that was my dream come true,” he says.  “I’ve done so many things in 40 years and I’ve worked very hard. It feels great to debut my Indian collection in New York City as we launch my website.  New York is such a fun, hip and fast city. There’s no other place that screams accessibility like the Big Apple and we’re excited to keep the buzz going!”

As an iconic designer who’s made a name in the international fashion world and at home, what advice would he have for young aspiring designers?   Says Manish Arora, “Well, fashion is not what it looks like from the outside – it’s actually a lot of hard work and dedication – it’s just like any other job. You need to get educated!” He shares a truth for all those with ideas, dreaming of creating the next big thing. He says,  “Inspiration is very easy – I’m  getting  inspired sitting here right now!  It’s the  execution of inspiration which is always the complicated part!”


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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!


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    Roopa Unnikrishnan

    Great blogpost

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    Really nice, Lavina Melwani!

    Thank you, Roopa and Visi