Manish Arora, fashion designer in his name and Paco Rabanne’s womenswear creative director, was in Istanbul for a well deserved break. He allowed us to sneak in his program and follow him.
I will be in Istanbul on Thursday, will you be around? That was a facebook message from Manish on a Tuesday. I have known Manish for years. We’ve had legendary disagreements and memorable parties. But I had not seen or talked to him since he joined Paco Rabanne over a year ago. The French kept him too busy but what a result! Lady Gaga loved his collection so much that she was seen with 3 of his creations during the MTV Awards.
Manish needed his seasonal break. Since he joined the French Fashion House, he has decided to take a trip after each show to recharge his batteries and get new inspiration. Last time was San Francisco, now Istanbul. Why Istanbul? Because it was geographically interesting.
I had one day to satisfy his unconventional and eclectic interest for tourism. Cihangir, Eminönu, Sultan Ahmet, Bebek, Tophane. Manish is not the kind of person demanding a private limousine with chauffeur. He wanted to walk and take public transports because inspiration comes from the street. He wanted to see what all new visitors go see but his eyes see details nobody else’s see. Everything is shape, color, collage, story. I am impatient to see what this trip will do to his upcoming collection.
I challenged Manish to sit with these lovely ladies who laughed so much he fell in love with their energy. He wanted to have them replicated in laughing dolls to take them home. On the right, Manish’s legendary hand with his Manish Arora for Swatch watch and big fat Indian rings. Such a trademark now that his staff blew up a picture of his hand and displayed it at the entrance of the office.
Manish’s famous Louboutin shoes which suit his spiky sparkling personality so well that Christian should have created them for him. No doubt it will register as a Manish symbol soon. Below, Manish mesmerized by the beautiful Topkapı’s harem.
After a playfull morning, he wanted to enjoy the barber experience but backed out at the last minute. He loved his stubble too much so a pretending picture was good enough. Then we had a relaxed dreamy afternoon, cruising on the Bosphorus, admiring the yalılar, Dolmabahçe and Cirağan palace, sliding alongside huge ships staffed with sailors coming from far away and smaller fast sea cabs. Somehow a very good summary of Istanbul’s beauty and complexity.
Hamdi, the best understated way to impress visitors
Gabrielle, Manish’s boyfriend of over 6 years joined us for lunch where they discovered the fabulous pistachio kebap and stayed eating, drinking and chilling for hours, amazed by the spectacle of cabs, tramways, boats and people creating a constant colourful motion.
Istanbul by night
Evening drinks in Bebek, discussing our adventures of the day amongst which the lovely shoe polisher who quickly decided that brushing was all he could do, and the art and craft discovered in Topkapı that shows so much refinement.
Dinner and drinks at Munferit. Ferit is the most reliable host to ensure a classy chilled out evening. The food is amazing, the drinks inspiring and the waiters orchestrate it all beautifully.
Manish loved every second of his day. He loved the city, its energy, its lively constant crowd and all the cats.