Manish Arora's show was unquestionably the highlight of WIFW. Madness ensued outside the venue before the show as everyone tried to get in. It gave a sense of what Manish Arora had become when my friend wondered aloud "Is this how it feels to be famous?!". The show was a homecoming celebration for Manish Arora after Paris fashion week and indeed as burly bouncers let in the front-row regulars, there was a palpable look of distress on the faces of people who were without passes because everyone wanted to be part of a hero’s welcome. Suzy Menkes and the fashion editors who sat front-row had already seen the collection in Paris, but they were there again nonetheless. It wasn’t just about seeing his collection, it was also about seeing a collection that was already fabulous and being seen seeing it.
Inside, the carnivalesque spectacle was every bit of what everyone expected it to be – a Disneyland fantasy that you could wear in an Absolut world. Models with beautiful feline make-up and hair, came out with animal parts sticking out of or embroidered onto structured garments. Caterpillars, elephants, raccoons and peacocks leapt out from the clothes. It is appropriate that the show’s music included the anthem of the moment “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire and M.I.A.’s tracks (who wore Manish Arora to the Grammy's earlier this year), because Manish Arora is also undoubtedly an icon of the sub-continent.