Manish Arora was in full-on celebration mood for his Fall/Winter 2016 collection, shown during Paris Fashion Week. The colorful collection is inspired by classic Americana heritage enriched with exuberant African details. Photos by Yannis Vlamos / Courtesy of Totem Fashion.

Manish Arora surely knows how to party. His designs are always exuberant. Browsing pictures from his runway shows season after season is like going to fantastic fashion heroine parties, one season at at time. Manish Arora Fall/Winter 2016 was an equally energetic affair, although it seems more grounded than usual.

Regardless, the Indian designer has a great reason to celebrate. He was recently appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Legion d’Honneur, and he wanted to show the Fall/Winter 2016 collection in his local neighborhood to celebrate his love for Paris. Manish Arora recruited famous friends for his runway show, including Ellen Von Unwerth, Chantal Thomas, and Debra Shaw.

His runway show started with a visual of a “prairie pioneer with pop overtones” on a “lost highway through the dark heart of America. The garments showcase horsemanship details in earth tones mixed with fuchsia and pink tones. Despite the sanguine dominance, there’s a darker mystery lurking beneath the mesh neoprene ruffles and embroidered denim.

Since this is a collection that’s inspired by Classic Americana, denim is featured heavily throughout the collection. The show notes put an emphasis on this fact: that denim was “reworked in multiple versions: enzyme wash stencil-printed denim, laser-cut leopard print hand-brushed denim, studded denim cowboy shirts and jackets embroidered with guns and roses, topped off with bandanas, cashmere scarves and trompe l’oeil guitar handbags.”

What pops that “party flavor” for this collection is the beautiful African elements in the garments’ souls. Patchwork African wax print fabrics, tribal embroideries, billowing skirts, along with surreal prints of fantasy mountain landscapes – that disguise illusions of heart lakes, horse clouds, cat mountains, and faces hidden in embroidered flowers – build up the mysterious allure.

And how about the reimagined leopard print with laser-cut tweed or hand stitched in sequins? Embroidered feathers, fur trims on suede neoprene tunics and snakeskin cowboy boots, studded and embroidered nappa leather jackets and shearling bikers, and jeweled face harnesses joined all the eclectic fun.

Woohoo, what a party! These garments can be a hit or miss depending on your preference, but you cannot fault the man for being thoroughly joyful in his own way. And isn’t that joy itself an excellent cause to celebrate, even knowing there may be darker times ahead?

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Thanks for reading; until next time,

Show Producer: Devi Sok
Stylist: Joanna Schlenzka
Hair: Laurent Philippon for Bumble and Bumble
Makeup: Kabuki for MAC Pro Team
Nails: Marian Newman for MAC
Sunglasses: Fakoshima x Manish Arora
Shawls: Sunil Sethi Design Alliance x Manish Arora
Music: MIDIval Punditz
Video: Hervé Moreau of Videopolis
Photos: Yannis Vlamos / Courtesy of Totem Fashion.

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