Manish Malhotra teaches Fashion Designing via Xpert

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About Manish Malhotra

Widely considered to be one of the best designers in India today, Manish Malhotra has revolutionized the fashion industry for more than two decades. He has re-defined Indian textiles, empowered regional craftsmen and harmonized traditional silhouettes seamlessly with contemporary luxury. He is a winner of the IIFA Award for Best Costume Design.

Connect with Manish Malhotra's life

  • What inspires your designs?
  • Who, according to you, are the best-dressed people globally?
  • Out of all your stunning collections, is there anyone that’s really close to your heart and why?
  • What is it like to be a designer in India?
  • What is the common misconception about Indian fashion that you come across?
  • What are the boundaries you have drawn for yourself while designing?
  • According to you, what was the most defining moment of your career?
      1. First amongst them would be winning the first Filmfare Award for costume styling. This really encouraged me to always look ahead and inspired confidence.
      2. Indians have always looked to cinema for sartorial inspiration. Bridging both worlds by introducing the concept of a show stopper from Bollywood was a defining moment as well.
      3. Last but not least, opening my 9,000 sq.ft flagship in Delhi was a proud moment. The store is now my second home ratification of the fact that passion will always trump doubt.
  • What advice would you like to give anyone, who is trying to get into the fashion industry?
  • What are the boundaries you have drawn for yourself while designing?
  • Your latest collections — Gloss and Portraits — are both couture bridal wear. What particularly attracts you to cater to the bridal market?
  • Would it be fair to say that the fashion industry is helping traditional artisans by giving them employment and popularising their trade?
  • Why do you think aspiring designers try to emulate your kind of success?
  • How according to you, the fashion industry is changing?
    • I feel the fashion industry is seeing a fundamental transformation in today's day and age on how we create, consume, and communicate about fashion. People are becoming vocal with their opinions on craftsmanship and designs we showcase or the national and international influencers we dress. The consumer landscape is truly changing thanks to social media. Luxury is today as much about the experience/the story as it is about the product.

  • As we know, fashion is one of the topmost polluting industries in the world after oil. Is Manish Malhotra thinking of an alternate idea for sustainable fashion?
    • Given the times we live in today, all of us irrespective of which side of the demand-supply spectrum we fall on, must adopt a mindful world-view. At Manish Malhotra, we look at sustainability from the point of view of empowering artisans and spotlighting traditional Indian techniques.

  • Which assignments do you consider as a cakewalk?
    • I enjoy doing difficult things. This is my 27th year and I continue to design for movies. Recently, I designed for Alia Bhatt in Badrinath Ki Dulhania, I’m designing for Jacqueline Fernandez in Judwaa 2. I also designed Sridevi’s costumes in Mom. Youngsters like Alia and Jhanvi Kapoor like wearing my clothes. My business is now a 100 crore label. It’s been tough; it’s been about single-minded dedication. There’s nothing else I love beyond my work.
      It’s the first time that a designer did the grand finale at the India Couture Week as well as the Fashion Week in  a span of weeks. I did them in the span of two weeks. Both the shows, besides trending all over, had fabulous sets and music. I have many more such things ahead as a designer and as a label. The brand has completed 12 years. I want to diversify my label. That’s why I began designing gowns two years ago. This year, I started with cocktail dresses, men suits and evening vests. We’re trying to change the perception of Indian couture. There’s a lot more to it than just the red and gold shaadi outfits.  I’m excited about the expansion and the huge office that we’ve taken to corporatise the label. By the end of this year, I’m launching a pret label, which will be showcased in many stores. My Delhi store, which is a 9000 sq ft place, will expand to 15000 square feet by January 2018. I’m also looking to open stores in Hyderabad, London and Dubai next year.

  • Which would be the most challenging films you have designed for?
    • Definitely my initial years with Rangeela, Raja Hindustani, Dil To Pagal Hai… because they were about setting a new mark - discussing hair and make-up and putting across your point of view as a designer was difficult those days. Also, during Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (KANK), we didn’t have assistants.  I’d go and shop for Shah Rukh Khan and Karan (Johar) would help me in the fittings. KANK had a huge cast comprising Mr Amitabh Bachchan, Arjun Rampal, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukerji, Abhishek Bachchan et al. My memories of that film are about hours and hours of walking, sourcing clothes, alterations being done at night and so on. It was one of the most difficult films of my career. I’d also name Mughal-e-Azam, the play. I’d never designed for a play, that too 550 costumes in a month. 

  • Who in your opinion are the best styled stars?
    • The young girls have good knowledge about fashion. Like Kangana Ranaut has worked well on her style and so have Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt. What I like about Alia is that there’s a story to what she wears at red carpet and events. But she never overdoes it. There are actors, who are so much about fashion and so little about their movies. If you notice international actors, they’re naturally smart and well-dressed. They know their couture and high-street fashion well. They don’t overtly speak about what they are wearing or who they are wearing. For me a style of a person is about their love and passion for their work. So I’d say Alia is the most stylish. 

  • When it comes to Bollywood fashion, which is the one thing you love?
    • I love retro! Nargisji’s costumes, the art décor and set design of Mughal-E-Azam and Pakeezah. I am a huge fan of Zeenat Aman, Rekha, Meena Kumari, Mumtaz, how they took elements and made it their own. Like Mumtaz made orange famous, Yash Chopra’s films made white famous. I miss all that in today’s era. I’m fascinated by Nargisji’s beauty in Andaz (1949). Her style is amazing.

  • What’s the one thing that keeps you going?
    • I’m a private person. My mantra is to stay focussed on myself. I don’t look at other people’s work. I thank God and the Universe for having done so much work - movies, weddings, collections and fashion shows all over the world. I feel blessed to have more work than I can handle.

  • Which are your favourite trends of the season?
    • I like a global influence, I like the drama. Indian clothes are becoming more and more glamorous because we have so much texture, luxury, colour in our culture. In fact, this year was the first year that I dressed up the Miss India pageant in the last crowning segment. I came up with the idea of dressing them up in Indian and it looked phenomenal. I enjoy the glamour of shimmer, tassels, fringes, feathers, and people are enjoying it too. 

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