One of the first fashion designers to bring a Bollywood face on the ramp as his show stopper, Manish Malhotra, who has been juggling films, his design studio and ramp showings, has decided that he doesn’t need a Bollywood showstopper at his show at the upcoming fashion week that flags off in the city next weekend.
“I’m getting tired of seeing a popular face on the catwalk, the idea is no longer exclusive,” sighs Malhotra who had Aishwarya (Rai Bachchan) walking for him at the HDIL Couture Week last year. “Celebrities should be sparingly used, the focus should always be on fabrics and designs.” Malhotra, who completes 21 years in the fashion industry, is a favourite with several actors, including Urmila Matondkar, Karisma Kapoor, Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya, Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone among others.
He also shares a great personal and professional rapport with Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor, and Saif Ali Khan. “I’m not just dropping names, all these Bollywood biggies are my friends first, and I’m eternally grateful to them for supporting me in whatever way they could, and that includes being my showstoppers, models or simply guests, whenever I’ve requested them to be,” he says.
Matondkar was the first Bollywood celebrity to walk the ramp in 1999, and it was for one of Malhotra’s shows. Other designers soon picked up the trend, and several of Malhotra’s actor friends have since sashayed down the runway for him, and others.
Recently, he had over 20 stars at a fashion show organised for for the Mijwaan charity fund set up by Shabana Azmi’s father, Kaifi Azmi.
Today however the designer wonders if these Bollywood showstoppers have turned into publicity and marketing gimmick. “Sporadically, like in the case of the Mijwaan girls, it works wonderfully as an attention catcher. But on several other occasions, it takes away from the designer’s work,” Malhotra points out. “No one speaks about the collection then, but everyone raves about the celebrity on show. That is annoying for any creative person. So this year, my friends will be at my show, but only as my most special guests and supporters.”