Bollywood designer Manish Malhotra presented his Kashmir inspired collection on Day Three of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. Titled Gulaala Aur Giltoor, it was based on the two flowers of Achbal Garden in Kashmir.
Manish’s trademark style, flowy silhouettes and lots of net, was combined with intricate Kashmiri embroidery and the result was for all to see- simply fantastic. The Indian evening wear collection featured gowns, saris, suits and lehengas. The colour palette consisted of red, pink, rust, orange, off-white and white.
Manish presented an interesting amalgam of different fabrics, blended perfectly to form exquisite pieces. “There’s a lot of jute, silk, chiffon and my favourite net. When you see a flowy net, you think it’s me. When I’m speaking about something, it just cannot be that. It has to be blended with what I do - Indian evening wear, modern yet sensuous. That’s why I have mixed it with a lot of modern influences like laces and crochet.”
“We are talking about autumn but there is summer now. And autumn in India is not as cold. It’s festive, yet it’s understated because it’s not a Diwali or wedding collection. Keeping all these things in mind, there’s a lot of sheer net, tilla work and all the embroidery was from Kashmir,” he added.
The celebrity designer’s show was quite crisp. “Internationally, all the fashion week’s shows are very fast and crisp. And they don’t announce the designer’s name because everybody comes for that designer. So from the past one year, I have also been trying to make my shows faster and crisper, having more models.”
Prettier the collection, higher the price. “I haven’t decided the prices yet. It’s like a cake which has just come out of the bakery and it went straight there. I only do evening wear. I don’t do prêt as of now. I think the range starts from Rs. 35,000.”
What brought you to the heavenly state? “When I was there for Rockstar, Imtiaz wanted us to shop in Kashmir. So we shopped a lot of stuff in Kashmir, clothes and shawls. That was my first trip to Kashmir. I loved the colours. I haven’t studied fashion, I studied paint and sketch. So I react to clothes via colours. I loved the way they had mixed colours. So Imtiaz said why don’t you do a collection on Kashmir, Kashmiri embroidery and work. I thought that was a good idea. So I got a lot of shawls, jackets and I made a collection which was received well.”
Manish has big plans for the state and its craft. “Kashmiri embroidery is seen in carpet shops or only in shawls. So I wanted to bring it to the high-end Indian wear. And it’s been a year now and I have got 65 craftsmen who work there. We dye the fabrics in Bombay, select and draw the work, which then goes to Kashmir and gets made. What is overwhelming is the response. It’s almost been a year now, so I thought it would be a good idea to give a tribute and now I want to take it to much higher level.”
It’s an interesting find that many designers are getting influenced by Indian states and cities. “It’s happening all over. A lot of ads that we see on TV today are all about India. Even in movies, I think it started from Jab We Met. We are making India proud. It’s a desi cool thing to be having chai at the station or mixing your collection like wearing a salwar with a t-shirt. That’s fun. India has so much to offer- colours, fabrics, textures, personality.”
No Bollywood celeb walked the ramp for the ace designer. However, Urmila Matondkar, Kangna Ranaut and Mahima Chaudhary graced the front row. “Kangna and Mahima were so sweet. They were on the flight with me today and they asked if I have a show today. They came with me as friends to support me. It wasn’t planned. Even Urmila was here,” said the happy designer.
From quite some time, Manish has not been getting any showstopper. “I have stopped doing that from two years. The focus here was Kashmir. So I didn’t want any actor on the ramp to take away the focus. So when it comes to fashion week, I would not like to have actors on the ramp and present just what the purpose of fashion week is.”
Earlier, many big names have walked the ramp for him. “All the actors who have walked for me have worked with me for years, like Shah Rukh, Saif, Kareena, Karisma, Urmila. Now-a-days, a lot of designers bring celebs who have no connection with them and they don’t even wear their clothes. Anyways, it was time for me to back out from there and start a trend where I have celebrities watching my show but not necessarily walking the ramp.”
Manish has been a part of big films and design clothes for all B-Town biggies. “I have always been associated with films and glamour and that will continue. This February, I completed 22 years in fashion designing. Recently, I have designed for so many- EMAET, RA.One, Chammak Challo, Chikni Chameli. I have been doing clothes for Rabir, Katrina, Deepika, Kareena, Karisma and it all goes on. In the recent award shows, I did clothes for celebs' dance performances and red carpet.”
“I have worked very hard to evolve fashion in movies. It started from Rangeela where I got the first Filmfare award ever given to a costume designer. Then Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil Toh Pagal Hai and I just did Rockstar, EMAET, RA.One, movies go on. It’s in my blood system. I just had fittings with Karan in the morning for his film Student Of The Year,” the designer added.
The designer is a favourite of many, but who does he admire? “My favourite designer is Giorgio Armani, I love Armani. I love Dolce&Gabbana, too, because I think they do fun stuff yet there’s a richness and coolness to it. I’m a big fan of Kenzo as I love their clothes for men. Another brand I really enjoy is Burberry as I love the way they have invented themselves.”
Manish made an interesting point here. “That’s another thing about international brands. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry- they have been doing the same print for years. So in that genre, they are reinventing themselves. In the last five years, Indian designers have learnt to do that. You have got to be known for something. So when you are coming for my show, you’re expecting a look. Designers need to have their own style and it’s very important to stick by it if you got to become a brand which people would want to wear.”
“Dressing is all about personality. A person who wears their personality, according to me, is truly stylish. That’s how you get timeless and you are not a fashion fad. I love flowy clothes, I love net and as a designer, show after show, collection after collection, I have done that. And that’s what I’m known for. That’s extremely important,” concluded the designer.
Manish Malhotra once again proved why he is everyone's favourite. Day Three couldn’t have ended better!