Whether it is Kavya (Alia Bhatt) in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania or Justice Sunderlal Tripathi’s (Saurabh Shukla) bride-to-be daughter in Jolly LLB 2, they are hellbent on getting married in a Manish Malhotra bridal lehenga. Even in the film Hindi Medium, a girl visits a store and demands a Manish Malhotra designed lehenga for her wedding. Well, that’s his craze. Most girls like to own and flaunt an outfit made by Bollywood’s ace designer.
One of India’s leading couturiers, who has been ruling both Bollywood and fashion ramps since the last two decades, was in Pune to showcase his exclusive Summer 2018 collection. The 51-year-old designer, who came across as charming, simple and jovial, spoke to Sakal Times about his latest collection, empowerment of Indian weaves, his connection with the late super star Sridevi, among other things.
The designer, who won accolades for styling Urmila Matondkar in Rangeela, showcased his Summer Collection 2018 on Saturday (March 17) at the unveiling of Panchshil Realty’s Yoo Villas styled by Kelly Hoppen.
Talking about the first look of his collection, Manish says, “This couture collection is quite bold, but it still has me in it. I played with summer colours with a lot of tulle, organza, and flowers in thread and fabric, embroidery art and embroidery work. The designs are very girly and the cuts have a lot of flare. It is ideal for a summer bride and resort wedding. So for the show, the models did not wear jewellery, just clean make-up, because the entire focus was on the clothes.”
Giving his insight into plagiarism and copied styles, he says, “I remember the outfits that I created for Dil To Pagal Hai was copied by everyone. Later, all of my film work was replicated and recreated. Sometimes, I am very strict when I see cases of plagiarism on social media and I have appointed a company that looks after the legal issues. It ensures that strict actions are taken against offenders. But there are times when you have to overlook and move on. Once Rekhaji (actress) told me, ‘As a creative person, keep changing your work so much so that others can’t cope up with the changes in your work’. I too think that it is important for a designer to try and create something new and different each time.”
EMPOWERING INDIAN LOOMS
Today, more and more designers and brands are working towards making Indian weaves, handlooms, etc look cool. Is that really helping the weavers? Answers Manish, “I hope it does. Handloom and textiles are becoming a big part of mainstream fashion. Today, a bride doesn’t mind wearing a handloom on her mehendi or even on her wedding day. The way designers have interpreted handloom, cotton and handwoven fabrics has helped it become a part of the fashion industry, and this is quite commendable. Picking up handloom weave or a textile has become a part of their fashion story which I think is a very big step ahead.”
CREATING A BALANCE
Manish has been ‘the Bollywood designer’ for a really long time and along with it, his fashion label has also grown by leaps and bounds. When asked if balancing both becomes a challenge for him, Manish says, “Sometimes in a film, it is much easier to design because you already have a character, a back story and the script that shows you a path. But when it comes to your own label, you want to express a lot of things. However, other factors like price, restriction of time, patron demands and so on too play a part. Sometimes you are torn between fulfilling a client’s demand and your true creative call. What I am hoping to break through this year is not only opening larger stores but also have a lot of other avenues as we are planning to get into makeup, home décor, a lighter or less detailed collection, jewellery, and also get into a better administrative structure for our label where I can have the time and liberty to experiment as well. I am not saying that what I am doing is not creative enough, but experimenting is something that we cannot always do.”
NO SUPERMODELS ANYMORE?
The ’90s saw the rise of supermodels who did not necessarily become Bollywood superstars. When asked why don’t we see supermodels now Manish exclaims,“Because they’ve all become actresses!” He further adds, “There are supermodels in the West and I am sure due to social media it might just happen in India as well. But you never know, the moment a supermodel is born, she will have a big film offer. I think modelling in India is not as lucrative as Bollywood unlike the ’90s when a lot of big brands were involved. Look at the fashion houses abroad — they are companies that have been ruling the world for more than 50 years, their reach is so wide, their businesses are across the globe, they have a big group of investors. When a model is working with them, s/he working as an international model who is a sensation all over the world. But back home, a model works for only the Indian audience and her repertoire is very Indian-centric so business is much less, which means that it all boils down to investment.”
PEOPLE ARE GETTING BOLDER
Sharing his insight on how fashion is changing, he says that while on the one hand, we are getting into luxury, glamour and opulence, on the other, minimalism is also becoming a huge trend. “I see fitness and a little bit of health regime also becoming a part of fashion today because people do not mind showing some skin. They are not shying away from wearing a different cut which could be a tad revealing. People are getting bolder and a lot more confident about themselves which I think is a great movement in itself,” he says.
Sridevi was someone whom I had worked very closely with for the last 28 years. She was very close and dear to me. Her death is a tremendous loss that I can never get over. She was an icon and a diva who was extremely stylish and graceful. The industry has lost an iconic star and the void she has left in our lives can never be filled.”
— Manish Malhotra