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Food for inspiration, fun for style



Food and fun_Manish Arora at the Caf‚ Fontana in New Delhi's Taj Palace hotel. Photo: S. Subramanium.

THINK OF Manish Arora and words ranging from fun to absurd come to your mind. One who acknowledges his work is meant for `some'. He may not have the words past and serious in his dictionary but his works sell. And the talk of food appeals to him.

So does he dare to take food on the fun route? "Indeed I do. The closest I put food and fashion together was when I got inspired with Chandni Chowk and designed T-shirts with girls walking with a paneer tikka and tandoori chikan," reminds Manish Arora relaxing with his favourite espresso coffee at Café Fontana in New Delhi's Taj Palace hotel.

With a successful show at Bridal Asia behind him, Manish is working on his collection to be showcased at the MTV Lycra Style Awards. And if somebody wants to know why he, this year's theme, `circus' kills any query. "My clothes do have a humour element most of the times. But that doesn't mean I am going to dress people like jokers. Circus as a theme could be expressed in many ways."

Goa in mind

Continuing on the humour tag Manish says, "I always want strong reaction for my work. Either people should say it was fabulous or we didn't understand. I don't like it was O.K kind of remarks. Generally I get inspired by the mood I am in or trying to be in. Generally I want to portray a happy feel in my clothes. It could be food, Bollywood or something to do with the times. Like I was the first one to put the gay idea, two men walking unconventionally on ramp."

Manish's work, over the years, scoffs at couturiers whose sole brainwave comes from the opulence of the India's past. "India inspires me. Particularly our love for colours. But, unlike many whose efforts are limited to reviving the Indian richness, contemporary India stimulates me much more. For instance, places like Goa. I designed shirts with `Goa is mine' theme."

Lover of Indian food

However, love for the exotic, doesn't come into question when it comes to food. "I love Indian food. To me food is just a necessity of life. Besides Indian, Thai food also comes in my favourite category when I am visiting. But nothing like brinjal and arbi."

On the increasing style count in today's youth, Manish points out, "A part of it has to do with Bollywood actors getting better with their style sense. Also the exposure for international trends is increasing everyday through media."

With his increasing presence from Bangalore to Paris and his foray into the men's wear this December, Manish makes it a point to rub in that his work sells. However, he admits when he design for retail houses like Be: he keeps his humour quotient in check. "You can't do without it. You can't wear everyday clothes with so much fun element. So in such cases I keep the silhouettes simple and keep the adventurous instincts for personal collections."

When at work, Manish doesn't have much of a choice when it comes to food. "I can't cook beyond noodles so I don't assert to have a particular kind of food. Whatever is the consensus I go with it."

And the raison d'être behind his well maintained thin frame. "Thanks to not having a sweet tooth." Perhaps got one for fun instead.

ANUJ KUMAR

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