Indeed, for all the obvious shock value in his clothes—bouncing clown appliqués, epaulets in the shape of lion heads—it’s the meticulous handwork that most distinguishes his designs. One blue dress for fall features a colossal tiger’s face. It’s covered in dense piles of sequined strands, almost 18 pounds in all. “I had 15 people working on it,” Arora says. Another frock boasts tiny hand-cut, hand-applied squares of silk worked into a pixelated pattern of Simba from The Lion King. (More-commercial variations sport Simba prints.) In fact, Disney is just one of a number of companies with whom Arora has partnered. Others include Reebok (candy-colored kicks and clothes for Fish Fry) and MAC (Kiss Manish lipstick, Going Bananas eye shadow).
“The basic idea of my clothes is that you should be happy,” he says. “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?”