It has been a time to reflect for Manish, who ushers in happiness for the grand finale, with twinkles of shimmer
By Asmita Aggarwal
The pandemic has in some ways transformed everyone both physically and in many ways emotionally, and if you look at Manish Malhotra, not only has he lost 16 kg after a strict diet regimen, but after 30 years for the first time, he took a break in his fast-paced life.
Always running between cities, launching his Delhi store and then expanding it took a toll on the guru, who has been styling for films for more than 30 years and launched his label 15 years ago. There have been two constants in Manish’s life—sketching and hearty human interaction. Both keep him content and being a people’s person, he feels this also educates him. “The lockdown gave me a chance to look at my work objectively and ponder over what next? he admits. Seeing how the disease didn’t differentiate between the rich and poor, migrant crisis and the loss of jobs, pushed Manish on a more spiritual level. “We had to pay rents and our employees, keep our heads above water, Covid has been a leveller,” he says.
With the end of the front row politics, gigantic egos and need to get dressy, what Manish is quickly adapting to digital shows, even though a part of him longs for the traditional runway. “We have so many beautiful memories of our shows, I am grateful work has finally picked up. We have to celebrate our existence, this line is a tribute to staying alive,” he adds.
During his many walks on the terrace, he channelized his thoughts and decided to dedicate more time to his health and also stores, as Hyderabad picked up well, while Delhi always gives him an overwhelming response, with Mumbai being a bit slower, he admits.
His travels to Ahmedabad, Jaipur and witnessing ornate Mughal motifs, visits to museums, he met many skilled craftsmen. Thus, he peppered this line with Persian influences, Rajasthani embroideries and enlivened it with zardosi, vintage elements and Nakshi work to create elaborate chogas.
Shimmer, he believes, will be restricted to sangeet, and the whole “fixed attitude” of looking a certain way has now vanished. “I see openness as weddings have 30 people or so. Culturally celebrations are grand and this is not going to go away. A bride wants a perfect photo in her dream outfit from her wedding and we make sure we give her just that,” he adds.
In the future, good pricing, innovation and versatility is what will keep brands steady; thus, this line he has been working on for the last year-and-a-half is a glamorous take on what he considers timeless. “I have been running all my life, I thought now I will do what makes me happy. As I turn a year older, this December, it is really a time to introspect,” says Manish, who had an impressive body of work styling from a Rekha to a Jhanvi Kapoor.
He considers India Couture Week his sacred space, and it marks his journey and also entry point in the capital. “Life is so unpredictable; we need to live every moment as if it is our last. Look at all the people who left us this year from Rishi Kapoor to Irrfan Khan,” he explains.
From mornings where the first thing he would do is switch on his phone, now it is a walk, chants, meditation as well as exercise to finally check the phone. “The grand finale show is an honour, I decided to add happiness by paying homage to art, crafts, colour and artisans,” he concludes.