Manish Arora always manages to bring a smile to my face. The bright, futuristic vision he presents manages to keep the eccentric eclectic, and that is a true talent. This season he seemed to make a more conservative progression that many others have also shown (NB Christopher Kane) but still managed to retain the craftsmanship and excitement that is what he's all about.
There was a feeling of ornithology this season - Arora included fantastical birds suspended in mid-air (not a new concept of course but still done well as if they were pecking through a cage to get some feed), light and airy ostrich feather skirt, appliques surrounding necklines that looked like tropical plumage and peacock feather embroidery on net fabrics. The strongest works for me were the latice and crochet items - gold lamé dress with square shoulders / multi-coloured neon corset with dragon fruit-esque peaks. It's here that Arora truely shines - in more than just a metaphorical sense.
The main symbol of the season, Robert Altmans festival photography from the 1970s, was the weakest for me. Using black and white imagery with the infusion of splashed colour, it reminded me a bit of the kind of print tees you'd find in a high street store. Although I can see the opportunities for reproduction and the references to pop-up (the pop art era references didn't end there), it didn't push the boundary of fun and fresh to intelligent design.
What I love most about a good show is not only being entertained but also leaving with a desire to see the clothing up close and personal. I got this feeling with many of the looks as I just couldn't contemplate how that corset was constructed or those trousers fastened. Mystery can be wonderful thing.