Manish Malhotra: Show a little skin!
Manish Malhotra is a name you associate with opulence and grandeur. But how does one get opulence into a summer-resort line? Malhotra attempted to do just this in his show at the Lakme Fashion Week.
The designer spoke with us about wearable opulence. Here's how you can look stunning even during summer.
He told us about his project where he has adopted 45 girl child workers from Mijwan in Uttar Pradesh for one year, and how he plans to incorporate their Chikankari embroidery as well as his Kashmiri influence -- one that was present in his latest line.
"Blending of colours," he told us, "is very important to me because I am not a trained fashion designer." Malhotra, whose show didn't have any celebrity showstoppers did however have Sameera Reddy, Kareena Kapoor, Amrita Arora, Sophie Choudry, and Kunal Kapoor, among others, watching in rapt attention from the audiences.
In a quick interview, Manish spoke about what you should wear this summer, what the future holds for the sari, and much more.
So tell us something about your show!
The show was all about grand, opulent spring-summer Indian wear. We've taken up an NGO of Chikankari workers in Mijwan, Uttar Pradesh for a year now. So this collection had a lot of Chikankari embroidery. There was also a lot of Kashmiri embroidery, something I was quite taken in by during my recent visit there for Rockstar (the movie starring Ranbir Kapoor). We sourced the embroidery from Jammu and Srinagar and incorporated it in our designs.
Your collections are always associated with opulence. Is it a challenge to make a spring summer line opulent?
Well, I have tried to do that in this collection. The thing is I am not a trained designer and have been a painter and an illustrator, blending of colours is very important to me. So you'd have seen a lot of ivory and hues of soft greens in the show. There is a lot of volume in the collection and menswear has a lot of kurtas and bandhgalas.
What would you say are the dos and don'ts of summer fashion?
Play it minimal: Learn to keep things simple. We are living in times of minimalism so there isn't really any need to go OTT. This is something I've also learnt during my stint as a designer.
Don't go for dual colours: It doesn't help. Go for block colours. Soft greens, powder blues will be in.
Keep it loose: Even if you must go for opulence, go for folume and texture with not much embroidery.
Show some skin: Depending on how comfortable you are with your body you could also consider maybe to show some skin. It is summer after all!
Image: Manish Malhotra with a friend at Lakme Fashion Week
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
'Indian style is timeless and I think the sari is here to stay!'
Would you say the sari needs saving?
I don't think so really. India has so much to offer in terms of colour, culture, craftsmanship, embroidery! Personally, I enjoy desining Indian wear. If you noticed, many celebrities who were at the Filmfare Awards recently were wearing Indian. Indian style is timeless and I think the sari is here to stay!
Which celebrities carry off the sari most elegantly?
Sridevi, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, and of course Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Image: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
'We tend to go overboard with our jewellery'
What are the most common fashion mistakes that Indians make according to you?
We tend to go overboard with our jewellery. If you notice in the West if women wear anything opulent, their jewellery is simple -- maybe just a solitaire or a plain neckpiece!
Even with the hair, sometimes even an out-of-bed look can be very, very sexy. You don't have to do anything elaborate, which many women (and some men) tend to do.
The same goes for make-up. Women tend to overdo it and end up looking terrible.
This especially applies to men. Somewhere we have got this idea that if we have it, we must flaunt it. Just because you have a good body, it doesn't mean you have to wear tight body-hugging t-shirts or vests that will show off your biceps.
Overdressing is something many Indian men and women can be accused of, for instance, wearing a pair of sunglasses or a jacket in summer isn't very cool.
What do you think about John Galliano's outburst?
Well the fact is, that he is very talented and what he did for Dior was great. But it's sad what he did.
Do you get pressured into throwing tantrums?
Do I look the kind? (Laughs) But I won't stay away from speaking the truth if someone is overstepping or if I feel someone is wrong. I won't stop from commenting on it.
Who would you say are the three most promising designers in India, today?
I haven't seen a lot of designers recently but if I were to pick, they'd have to be Anant Kabra, Nachiket Barve and Kallol Dutta.
Your advice to aspiring young designers?
Fashion is not about parties and fun. It is hard work. You can always get a PR, enter a fashion week, get a star to walk for you and get written about in the press. To be able to survive you have to be able to sustain.
Image: Model Deepti Gujral in a Manish Malhotra creation.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera