Age: 48 Years
Marital Status: Unmarried
Some Lesser Known Facts About Manish Arora
Does Manish Arora drink alcohol?: Yes
Manish Arora is an Indian fashion designer. He is the first Indian designer to head a French luxury label – Paco Rabanne.
Arora’s signature style consists of beading, sequins, and the combination of psychedelic colour palette and kitsch motifs – all paired with traditional Indian embroidery and craftsmanship. Talking about his bling and bold designs, Arora said in a magazine,
The basic idea of my clothes is that you should be happy. It’s really about escaping and belonging to somewhere else. When I make these clothes, I disappear in a world which doesn’t exist. So why not?”
The Indian designer’s collections have been worn by many Indian celebrities including Ranveer Singh, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Shraddha Kapoor, and several international celebrities like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Fergie, and more.
Manish revealed in an interview that he belonged to a very simple Punjabi family and was the first child in his family to leave home to study. The Arora family was into the business of importing saris and still have sari shops in Mumbai.
Manish accepted his sexuality at the age of 17 when he first came to Delhi and secured admission to the National Institute of Fashion Technology (N.I.F.T.). While recalling about coming out to his family about his sexuality, Manish said that it was purely organic. He added,
I had a partner when I was 21, then I had a long relationship for 12 years and he did come to meet my parents. It was not like I had to say, ‘Hey, meet my boyfriend!’ It was just obvious and clear.”
In 1994, Manish graduated from N.I.F.T. Delhi and won the “Most Creative Student of the Year” award. He had made a career switch from Commerce to Fashion Designing.
After graduating from N.I.F.T., the fashion designer participated in the ‘Young Asians Designers Competition’ in 1995, held in Jakarta. At the show, Manish’s presentation won him two awards, and later in Jakarta, Manish was offered the job of a stylist for the French Vogue by its editor; however, he declined the offer and preferred to stay back in India.
Soon, Arora joined Rohit Bal, a designer in a traditional Indian way. Manish worked under the designer for 2 years.
In 1997, Manish set up his namesake label ‘Manish Arora’ with friend and business partner Deepak Bhagwani. Arora appeared in his first solo show in October 1998 and has also remained the official designer for the Vimal suiting and shirting campaign for 1998-1999.
Three years later, Arora started participating in the India Fashion Week. The India Fashion Week’s fifth season in 2004 transformed Arora’s life, as the extremely colourful show attracted much media attention. The Indian designer also represented India in the Hong Kong Fashion Week in 2000.
Arora announced his presence in the Indian market by introducing his diffusion label “Fish Fry” in 2001.
In 2002, the designer opened his first flagship store of the ‘Manish Arora Fish Fry’ label in New Delhi and the second store in Mumbai.
The following year, another display of his collection impressed the Maria Luisa house in Paris, which led to international demand for Manish Arora’s collections, and the designer started to export his fashion wear.
Manish boasts of more than 60 vividly diverse collaborations including the Manish Arora Home collection for Good Earth, eye-wear for Inspecs in the UK, bed linen for Portico, a range of socks for the Swedish company Happy Socks, and brands like Walt Disney, Nespresso, Swatch, Mercedes Benz, Swarovski Elements, MAC Cosmetics, Kama Ayurveda, and more.
In 2005, Arora made his international debut at London Fashion Week and continued to show there for four consecutive seasons.
The first Indian designer to collaborate with Reebok, Manish, also created a range of women’s party wear shoe collections called ‘Fish Fry for Reebok’ and showcased his collection in Spring/Summer 2006 at London Fashion Week in September 2005.
A few months later, Arora became one of the first Indian designers to exhibit some of his creations at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London at the exhibition called “Global Local,” which was held in association with the British Council of India.
In 2007, Manish was honoured by the Victoria and Albert Museum, when he was asked to show a retrospective of his London Fashion Week collections. Manish was selected to show his collection in the V&A Fashion In Motion event at the Paris Fashion Week for the Autumn/Winter 2007-2008 season.
On 16 March 2008, the Indian designer made his television debut through a reality show, “The Adventures Of The Ladies Tailor,” which was aired on the Discovery Travel and Living channel. In the show, Manish travelled to destinations like Goa, Nicobar Islands, and Puducherry to explore quirky fashion, lifestyle, and design in modern India. It was the first time that a television series by an international TV channel was made entirely on an Indian fashion designer.
In the same year, the designer made headlines when he gave a makeover to his Ambassador car. Manish revealed in an interview that the Ambassador was his first car and that’s the only car he has had. He said in a statement,
First, I think it is a beautiful, iconic design. The other thing is that I feel very safe in it, given the way Delhi traffic works. Till I am alive I will only have an Ambassador car. Even if I have to change the engine I will do that.”
After the successful Paris Fashion Week, Manish went on to become a member of the renowned French Federation of Pret-a-Porter in 2009.
As of 2009, the Indian designer had five stand-alone stores in the key Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata.
In 2012, Arora collaborated with India’s biggest women’s ethnic wear retail brand BIBA, to create a joint venture label “Indian by Manish Arora” and showcased the bridal collection at the Wills India Lifestyle Fashion Week 2012. BIBA picked a 51% stake in the joint venture.
In the same year, Arora collaborated with high-end jewellery label, ‘Amrapali,’ and launched his line called the ‘India Enchanted’ that boasted a number of A-list Hollywood and Bollywood stars as its clients.
In the Spring/Summer 2013 season of the Paris Fashion Week, it was the first time that Manish’s collection was inspired by India’s Rajasthani elements.
In 2014, Arora left the Paco Rabanne label after two seasons of collaboration, by a mutual agreement. The Indian designer was appointed Paco Rabanne’s artistic director of women’s fashion in 2011. He had a bumpy start at the French fashion house when his collection received mixed reviews; however, soon it gained a lot of media attention when first Katy Perry and then Lady Gaga donned Manish Arora at different seasons of MTV Europe Music Awards.
A year later, Mr Arora moved into a high-end apartment in Paris.
In 2014, the Manish Arora brand opened its first flagship store in Paris.
On 16 February 2016, the Indian fashion designer was honoured with the ‘Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur’ (Knight of the Legion of Honour) – the highest French civilian award. Manish was conferred by François Richier, the French ambassador to India. Arora is the first Indian in the fashion industry to be awarded this honour for his contribution to the world of fashion.
Manish Arora and BIBA’s joint venture was reported to shut operations in 2017, allegedly due to an end of the contract or a disagreement between the stakeholders.
In 2018, the veteran fashion designer celebrated 10 years of showcasing at Paris Fashion Week and became the only Indian designer to have been associated with PFW for over a decade.
The same year, Manish also collaborated with the football club Paris Saint-Germain to create the team’s capsule collection.
Arora, who shuttles between Delhi and Paris, is also the only Indian to share space with big fashion industry names like the British designer John Galliano, Chanel head designer Karl Lagerfeld, and French designer Jean Paul Gaultier.
As of 2019, Manish owned one exclusive store in Paris and sold from Joyce, Harrods, Printemps, and Gallery Lafayette too, while he made nearly 40 per cent of his business from the four standalone stores in China. The Manish Arora brand also retails from over 80 stores worldwide.
In September 2020, the Indian fashion designer announced the launch of his first Indian pop-up restaurant in Paris “HOLYHOLI” from 2-18 October, with the former Chanel executive Marielou Phillips.
In October same year, Manish also undertook a high-profile fashion collaboration with Amazon India, along with three of India’s most celebrated designers – JJ Valaya, Ashish Soni, and Suneet Varma to launch a new label “RIVER.”
As of 2020, Mr Arora also served as a member of the advisory council for the International Woolmark Prize, one of the most prestigious fashion awards in the world.