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Updated: July 24, 2010 18:30 IST

Clothes...period

Shalini Shah
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A model showcases Manish Malhotra's designs at the Pearls Infrastructure Delhi Couture Week. Photo: R. V. Moorthy
The Hindu
A model showcases Manish Malhotra's designs at the Pearls Infrastructure Delhi Couture Week. Photo: R. V. Moorthy

Bollywood was conspicuous by its absence in Manish Malhotra's show

If it weren't for him, nobody would have thought of bringing in actors on the ramp to steal the model's spotlight (at least, till then no one did). There wouldn't have been this sense of misplaced disappointment that many complain of when a Bollywood showstopper — who in many cases barely reaches the models' collarbones — doesn't step in. So it was a thank-god-for-that moment when Manish Malhotra, at his show in the Pearls Infrastructure Delhi Couture Week, let the clothes shine without the Bollywood sparkle.

When someone questioned him about it, Malhotra replied, “I've proved it enough. I was the first person to get an actor to walk the ramp — Urmila (Matondkar) did that for me 10 years ago. The entire showstopper concept… don't you think it's a done thing now?”

‘Pretty' would be the word for Manish Malhotra's couture line. Chiffon skirts came with velvet ruffles, with a circumference that might make the front-rowers want to lean back every time a model twirls around. In anarkalis, back pleats started from the neckline, revealed only by a clever slit at the back on the embellished waist coat. Clever cross-pin tucks lent a chiffon skirt a unique flow. A velvet blouse with braided pattern accompanied a net sari. (A pattern that repeated itself on the men's wear.)

The colour palette, in the designer words, was a very “autumn/ winter palette… steel, lagoon, deep reds, ivory.”

“I'm looking at Indian aesthetic with global style… clothes you can wear on the red-carpet,” said Malhotra.

The men's wear, though, was monochromatic and much more subdued, coming in the form of jackets, Jodhpurs and zouave pants. There was feathered headgear, too, for the drama.

“The men were more like the backdrop, helping the women. Since the colour palette for women had colours like teal and deep red, I thought the men should be more monochromatic… there were a lot of Spanish references, the Flamenco,” the designer explained. Lanterns, mirrors and velvet couches played the props.

While experimentation is fine, it is important to maintain brand identity, said the designer, “In the West, brands stick to what they do. An Armani doesn't do what Gucci does, or a Gucci doesn't do what a Versace does. My genre is glamour. While the goal is to try and keep reinventing every season, I shouldn't change my aesthetic so much that my clothes don't look like Manish Malhotra's clothes anymore.”

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