In the world of fashion, the name Manish Malhotra is associated with a certain degree of grandeur. We caught up with him on a Sunday morning, at the fittings for his opening show (today, March 11) at a city fashion week.
Top names from the modelling fraternity are lined up as Malhotra, dressed in grey denims and a blue shirt, is busy assigning them outfits and styling their looks. If he is tired from being up since 5.45 am that day, his animated demeanour shows no signs of it.
"It has been a busy start to 2014 for me… This is my fourth show this year!" he says, before turning his attention to the rack lined with his decadently embellished creations, to choose the next look.
Here, he talks about styling Bollywood actresses, the ones we should look out for and what his upcoming show has in store for the fashion conscious.
Have you styled any films recently?
I have styled Alia Bhatt for 2 States, and Deepika Padukone for Happy New Year. I am slated to start work on Shuddhi soon.
Which Bollywood actresses do you love to dress?
I go way back, with the likes of Urmila Matondkar, Kajol and Sridevi. I’ve had a long association with Kareena Kapoor Khan as well. I also enjoy working with Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone. Alia is gorgeous, and brings a characteristic freshness to everything she wears. Sonakshi Sinha and Parineeti Chopra are also ones to watch out for.
What is your idea of good design?
It is imperative for designers to have a DNA and a story to tell. Good design is one that is true to itself. It doesn’t try too hard. It appeals to a wide audience, and can be adapted by a lot more people.
What is the key to dressing up this summer?
This season is about easy, relaxed and comfortable dressing. It’s about being confident, stylish and making a fashion statement without a ‘look-at-me’ attitude. Opt for toned-down pastel shades like blush pink, beige and powder blue over neons. Navy blue is the new black; and the blue and ivory combination will replace the popularity of black and white this summer.
What can one look forward to in your latest collection?
This is an evening wear collection (called A Summer Affair) with special focus on innovative, contemporary silhouettes, intricate thread-work and monochromatic colours. The mood is glamorous, but very comfortable. You can expect to see a lot of draped zip saris, toned-down kalidar kurtas, dupattas replaced by scarves, easy footwear, low backs and hints of lace.
The men’s line is all about shirt-style kurtas, cotton and linen trousers instead of churidars, printed sherwanis and tone-on-tone bandis and bandhgalas. I am forever inspired by the ’50s and ’60s, and have tried to interpret vintage looks in a contemporary context.
What’s your take on couture designers launching affordable prêt and diffusion lines?
It’s all about reaching out to as many people as you can today. My work is not just focused on the select few who sit in the front rows and clap for me at my shows. While they are very important, being accessible to the thousands out there matters a lot too. I want my clothes to be very wearable and identifiable.
Any new Indian designers or labels that have caught your eye?
There is a great deal of specificness associated with every designer’s work today, which is great. Pankaj and Nidhi, Shivan & Narresh, Rahul Mishra and Amit Aggarwal are a few who are doing very distinct work.
Also look out for…
Narendra Kumar: Expect new silhouettes for men and women, and a new colour palette for men. I never have a showstopper; my theme and story are strong enough
Gaurav Gupta: The mood of my collection is Egyptian futuristic. Expect jumpsuits, dresses, sari-gowns and an interplay between volume and extreme sexiness
Payal Singhal: Sheer hemlines, cut-out shoulders, print-on-print and elbow-length sleeves are the trends to swear by in spring/summer '14
Anita Dongre: My collection is a tribute to rich Indian textiles and the glorious weaves of India. It’s the coming together of contemporary fashion with vintage textiles