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Manish Arora, known for his over-the-top and opulent designs, recently had his first major retrospective exhibition at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta. The exhibition, titled Manish Arora: Life Is Beautiful, featured some of his most iconic pieces from throughout his career. One of the sentimental pieces included in the exhibition was a simple fuschia button-down shirt adorned with silver metallic florals that belonged to one of his late friends. This shirt held special significance for Arora and was a tribute to his friend’s memory as she always joked about giving it to a museum one day.

Arora is famous for his maximalist fantasies that are colorful, textured, and layered with diverse references. His work is described as extra, decadent, and over-the-top, featuring a mix of influences ranging from Burning Man to Goa’s dance parties. As one of the first Indian designers to showcase his collections at London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week, Arora has made a significant impact on the fashion industry. He has also dressed renowned celebrities like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj, solidifying his status as one of the most extreme and extravagant designers in Paris for years.

To curate the exhibition, Arora and Rafael Gomes, the director of fashion exhibitions at SCAD FASH, reached out to collectors and clients to secure pieces for the show. Many of the items on display are one-of-a-kind and required extensive effort to gather, as Arora did not personally collect his archives. The exhibition showcases a diverse range of pieces, including a Paris-themed rainbow skirt adorned with iconic landmarks and chain-stitched by hand. Each piece exemplifies hours of meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail, reminiscent of couture-level fashion.

The exhibition itself is a visual feast, featuring 13 themes that best represent Arora’s body of work. From a dessert-themed wall adorned with crystal-covered ice cream cones to a fantasy section with pastel skies and floating fabric castles, the show immerses visitors in dream-like scenarios. In addition to his clothing designs, the exhibition also highlights Arora’s legendary jewelry pieces that play with traditional ceremonial dress and whimsical elements like pineapples, gingerbread houses, and unicorns. The walls are adorned with archive and childhood photographs of Arora, providing a glimpse into his personal and creative journey.

Among the standout pieces in the exhibition is a handbag shaped like a milkshake, a Swarovski crystal dress made of jigsaw puzzle pieces, and a floor-length gown crafted entirely out of leather-like butterflies. These creations showcase Arora’s unique and imaginative approach to fashion design, pushing boundaries and redefining traditional notions of clothing. With a focus on individuality, creativity, and self-expression, Arora’s work continues to captivate audiences around the world, leaving a lasting impact on the fashion industry. The exhibition serves as a celebration of his remarkable career and contributions to the world of fashion.

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