There’s perhaps no better contemporary designer than Manish Malhotra to talk about fashion in Bollywood. The designer — who was one of the pioneers of film styling with Rangeela (1995) — is now paying tribute to the industry in a fitting manner. His show at the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week will
pay tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema. We got him to look back at the various trends set by films over the century.
Aishwarya Rai strikes a pretty pose with designer Manish Malhotra on the first day of HDIL Couture Week. (AFP)
What made you pick your theme?
I’ve been in love with cinema since childhood. Today, costume designing has carved a niche for itself, unlike earlier, when it was not taken seriously. I always wanted to bring some change through my abilities — which happened with Rangeela — and I still try my best to work magic with every look I envision. Movies play a pivotal role in my life, so I had to do something special to mark this occasion.
You'd be familiar with the past few decades of Indian cinema, but how did you study the initial years — the ’40s, ’50s etc?
I never studied fashion and cinema intentionally. It’s only for the love of cinema, that I started noticing trends from the ’40s and ’50s. However, it was the ’60s that fascinated me most, with women draped in beautiful chiffon saris and men in smart suits and bow ties. The entire era had a magical effect on me.
What were the fashion statements of each decade?
Every decade has witnessed one fashion trend that we all love. Be it the ’50s black-and-white, the ’60s splash of colour, the ’70s hippie trend and flower power or the ’80s disco bling. When I started working on films in the ’90s, chiffons, pastels and casual formals were big.