March 15, 2019 Asmita Aggarwal

The Man who knew infinity

Edgy, funky, colourful and multifunctional—Manoviraj Khosla, dresses a man of many seasons

By Asmita Aggarwal

His father who worked in Tata Tea, was a simple man, but Manoviraj Khosla, growing up was greatly influenced by his mother, a woman of fine taste. From Hermes, Balmain to Kenzo, she wore everything and the young boy was fascinated, even though fashion was never in the conversation at home. “When I first went to study at the American College, England, my father didn’t really approve of the idea, he was conservative, but my mom fully backed me up,” he confesses.

Among the frontrunners 30 years ago when Manoviraj began his foray were Suneet Varma and Rohit Khosla, who was a family friend. The two above did womenswear, Manoviraj was always interested in menswear, even though men at that time mostly wore grey, black and brown. “I recall when I started, women at a party would dress up, but templates for the husbands remained boring. Now that has reversed women are simpler and men are becoming dandies,” he smiles.

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Manoviraj offered colours, which was missing, along with edgy embroideries and surface embellishments, funky prints —– nothing was subtle. He didn’t believe in doing sherwanis with embroideries rather his interest was a leather jacket with bold threadwork, an ingenious mix of Indian and Western. “A man’s relationship with colour has been tumultuous, from absolute non-acceptance to gradual love, pastels have faded into oblivion, rather it is all about courageous hues now,” he observes.

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LMIFW saw Manoviraj’s affection for everything larger-than-life—rivets, adventurous prints and a mix of street wear in the formal language. “We have also attempted footwear in velvet, leather and added sneakers this time for the show. Though my biggest influence which has remained my first love is street wear,” he says.

Track suits, multifunctional jackets, and casualness in clothing is what Manoviraj explains what he did, in 1990, which is a rage now. “Look at Gully Boy and hip hop as well as graffiti and irreverence, that’s what in now. Menswear has been an ignored genre and was restricted to three shades, now they want to be part of the fashion circle. And age is not a defining factor, 60 is the new 50, people are pushing the envelope and experimenting now,” he explains.

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Tucked away in Bangalore, he laughs and admits that sometimes North Indians forget there is a “country” called South India and even though they aren’t as vociferous as their brethren. “I would like to expand my label, my brother is an architect, so designing spaces seems like a natural progression,” he concludes.

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