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khaleej times Friday, January 7, 2011



h s i n a M r e n ig s e d r e b u Is Arora Paris bound? Stephanie Rivers


umour mills have been churning away in this relatively new year with news that designer Manish Arora may be on the move, on his way to Paco Rabanne in Paris, a rumour still unconfirmed. now, for all of you who may not know him, and I would find that hard to believe, he is the beloved son of India and a leading luxury designer who makes couture clothing and ready-to-wear that sets the bar for fusions of cultures and styles. His eponymous line is shown at international fashion weeks, notably new York and Paris, and his store, Fish Fry, carries creative and inspiring ready-to-wear clothing. If you are not familiar with the Label Paco Rabanne, please check out the movie Barberella, which starred Jane Fonda in the beginning of her career and was a film that Paco Rabanne himself served as costume designer, as well as fashion references for ornate metal dresses. Manish is a master of prints, colours and silhouettes and is not afraid to take chances and venture out in directions others may be afraid to tread, making his point of view perfect for the House of Rabanne. His FW 2009 cirque collection showcased his ability to be focused in his vision, to design pieces that were both artistic and visionary, rendering a theme both wearable and one to covet. The brand has been on a revival course for the last six months starting with the relaunch of their 1969 chain mail handbag. The handbag was first brought to international attention when Brigitte Bardot was spotted carrying it. The revival of this style acknowledges the history of the house and expresses the direction of the company — creative, unconventional and exceptional quality. The new design comes in stingray, suede, metal and embellished leather. The new design has resonated with one of fashion’s elite, Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo, who collaborated with the brand on three interpretations of the bag that will sell in nine Comme des Garçons stores exclusively. There has been no response from the Paris office or from the international PR for the brand on whether or not the fashion world can truly be excited by the news but as soon as I know, so will you.

Unconventional Chic L

acoste, a sportswear brand noted for its signature relaxed sportswear, best described by their tag line Un Peu d’Air Sur Terre — A Little Air On Earth — is making chic changes, unconventionally chic changes that is. Their new ad campaign, labelled Unconventional Chic, features classic sportswear pieces with a twist; that twist being luxury-inspired pieces cutting a very fashionable silhouette. This take speaks volumes about the new direction the house is intending on taking, breaking from the last eight years which were under the fashion direction of Christophe Lemaire, the former creative director who departed for Hermes. The ads showcase the brand as a whole versus their previous stance of product-specific campaigns. The ads feature models Liya Kebede, Anja Rubik, noah Mills and Jon Kortajarena, all runway darlings and campaign superstars.

The females sport understated make up that speaks of luxury but not too seriously, paired perfectly with simple yet elegant hair and with clothing that has a refined quality that was at once a relaxed élan matched well with the brand’s sportswear signature, the alligator insignia polo shirt. Liya sports is a short sequined pencil skirt with a modernised 3/4-length mutton sleeve button down with tie-front closure. Anja is resplendent in a floor-length long sleeve sequin body-con gown topped by a white polo, reminiscent of old world glamour. The men, noah and John, are dressed in suiting with a white polo overlay, sublime. It will be interesting to see what else will be coming from the house and what the new creative director, the Portuguese maverick designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista, known for his resolutely modern take on fashion and couture sensibilities, will bring. — Stephanie Rivers

Where Does The Accountability Of Fashion Fall?


was saddened this week to learn of the death of French model Isabelle Caro, who was best known for her nude billboards bringing attention to the effects of anorexia. Isabelle had been struggling with anorexia for quite some time, and although cause of death has not been released as yet, from one look at pictures of her over the last year, or her appearance on Jessica Simpson’s The Price of Beauty, one can surmise that the cause was more than likely organ failure, the by-product of the disease. The billboards caused outrage around the

world, with the fashion industry vehemently speaking out against the ads and the after effects it would cause for the industry. Many designers spoke out that fashion does not cause anorexia, and that several industries have anorexia associated with them. This is a valid point, of course, as sports — especially high-school sports — have high instances of the illness. However, does loving fashion and all that it encompasses, come at a cost? Well, yes, in this instance it does and a very grave one. Fashion as a whole must be accountable and reminded that our youth are very impres-

sionable and subjected to varying degrees of pressure from school workloads, to peer pressure, to the visual mediums that assault their senses perpetually. If they see a size zero model being shown as the beauty standard and lauded for her body type, then it stands to reason that they will try to emulate it. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Perhaps the fashion industry should look at it as — it takes an industry to change the thinking and direction. — Stephanie Rivers

My Weekly Fashion Column  

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