My mother (Shaukat Kaifi) now wants you to make a sari for her! She loves the clothes and doesn't say that easily,” was Shabana Azmi's sms to designer Manish Malhotra after his fashion show at the Trident on January 23, for which 24 stars walked the ramp, including show stoppers Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Shilpa Shetty, Ranbir Kapoor, Karan Johar and Farhan Akhtar. The show was for the Mijwan Welfare Society set up by Azmi's father, poet-lyricist Kaifi Azmi.
Malhotra has adopted the tiny village of Mijwan in UP, where 45 girls will be working for him. “I’m not doing it for charity but because I want to showcase their talent by putting their chikankari on display for international clients and movie stars,” points out the designer who's in his 21st year. “I’m confident that at the fashion show next year the stars will be wearing their designs."
Malhotra is overwhelmed by the stars’ trust in him. Hrithik who had just returned from London after the unveiling of his statue at Madam Tussauds, tried his ‘sherwani’ on the day of the show itself. Ranbir who was given a chikankari salwar in vibrant red, refused to discuss clothes and only wanted to know when and where to come for the fittings. Shilpa Shetty only wanted a ‘lehenga’ with a lot of ‘ghera’ and later thanked him for making her look “spectacular”. Ditto for Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta. Prateik Babbar and Kunal Kapoor grabbed eyeballs in their pyjamas that reflected their chilled out personas.
Many of the clothes came from the collection that Malhotra had designed for three back-to-back shows and were traditional Indian wear. “I want our movie stars to wear contemporary saris, lehengas and sherwanis at red carpet events internationally,” he says, elated by the fact that Yash Chopra called to tell him that he had surpassed himself with this show. “For me the moment to remember is walking with all 24 stars and Ranbir and Hrithik lifting me up."