Exclusive Interview: Manish Malhotra Reveals His Favorite Bollywood Show Stopper!

Team MissMalini , 21 Feb 2013

Manish Malhotra is in London for a charity fundraiser on February 23rd showcasing Kashmiri craftsmanship at the Angeli Foundation Show. We caught up with him for an exclusive chat and asked him everything you wanted to know!

Parineeti Chopra in Manish Malhotra
Parineeti Chopra in Manish Malhotra

You have been credited for making-over Bollywood – what’s the most fashionable Bollywood film till date?

Manish Malhotra: Well, I think I always believe in my creativity and my instinct about how can I bring the on screen character alive through styling. Right from Rangeela to Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham to SOTY, I think all of these movies showcase the beginning of a new styling era in the industry and are so fashionable.

models in Manish Malhotra
models in Manish Malhotra

We’re all so curious, when did you first realize that you wanted to plunge into the world of fashion?

MM: As a kid I always had a flair for art and beauty that inspired me to become a Costume Designer, for which I won several awards and my styling sensibilities were appreciated by my peers that later lead me into designing my own label with an aim to dress up perfect women into perfect clothes.

How did you start working as a costume designer for films?

MM: I started my career as a model, followed by costume designing for a song with Juhi Chawla in the movie Swarg in 1989 and eventually I won the first Filmfare costume award in 1995 for the movie Rangeela. In the past 23 years, I have styled more than 1000 films.

Urmilla in Rangeela by Manish Malhotra
Urmilla in Rangeela by Manish Malhotra

Brides or Bollywood – what gives you more creative satisfaction?

MM: Both. I am a Costume Designer and a couturier. My styling sensibilities and my designing sensibilities both give equal creative satisfaction. Styling a character OR making the dream garment for a bride, both are my forte and I enjoy it.

You introduced the concept of showstoppers here – what are your thoughts on it? Who’s your favourite showstopper?

MM: I introduced the concept of “showstoppers” in order to bring some element of newness and surprise to my shows. After few years, I re-invented this trend by having the showstoppers walk in between the show, as my show is about my garments and the creativity, a showstopper definitely adds more glamour, but I would always want my garments to be the star. I have had all my dear friends from Bollywood walk the ramp for me and love all of them. But if I had to pick one, It would be Kareena Kapoor as she has walked the ramp thrice for me and I simply adore her.

Manish Malhotra and Kareena Kapoor
Manish Malhotra and Kareena Kapoor

Tell us about your charity show in London? What was your inspiration? Considering Kashmir is a land of so much beauty (and sadly so much controversy). Does the work on your garments represent that in any way?

MM: We are showcasing our collection after almost a decade at the Gala Fundraiser in aid of The Angeli Foundation, a charity that works to empower the girl child in India. I have always worked towards the betterment of women in India like Mijwan (NGO) and now The Angeli foundation.

model in Manish Malhotra
model in Manish Malhotra

MM: My inspiration for the UK collection is my culture and my heritage. I have always liked taking Indian history and craftsmanship to the world through my designs. My collection consists of traditional silhouettes like the anarkalis, lehenga anarkalis in exclusively dyed corals, blues, and whites inspired from 50’s. We have used Kashmiri craftsmanship in almost every creation and each piece reflects the beauty of Kashmir and contemporary India.

model in Manish Malhotra
model in Manish Malhotra

What is the highlight of the show, your fav outfit/piece? 

MM: Each creation is designed and crafted with intricate details and a lot of hard work. I love all my creations.

Where do you think the Indian fashion industry is headed?

MM: I think Indian fashion industry is now becoming very realistic. Styling is no more just about “looking good” but it is more about “looking the character”. There is an unusual attraction in the rawness of this sudden change of looking the cfharacter that relates more with its audience and has a long way to go.

model in Manish Malhotra
model in Manish Malhotra

There are quite a few talented designers that have emerged in the industry – any particular favourites? If so what do you like about their work?

MM: Our industry is full of great creative minds. They all are different and good in what they do.

What do think has been the biggest change  in the Indian Fashion Industry?

MM: Fashion is constantly evolving. Like mentioned, the styling and fashion has become more real and wearable.

model in Manish Malhotra
model in Manish Malhotra

What advice do you have for designers breaking into the industry?

MM: Embrace that one unique sensibility that you have in your designing. Work hard, follow your instinct and show the world what you’ve got!

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