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Timeless contemporary

Manish Malhotra's creation

Manish Malhotra's creation   | Photo Credit: 21dmcmanish2

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Manish Malhotra on the idea behind ‘Portraits’ and why he loves the new young energy in the fashion industry

Last week, a five-day celebration of all things beautiful at the fifth edition of India Couture Week ended on a special high, with celebrated designer Manish Malhotra presenting not just his latest couture collection, ‘Portraits’, but also his first bespoke line of shoes. Malhotra, hosting this edition of the Couture Week, brought on ramp his signature style, a timeless blend of tradition and modernity.

Excerpts from an interview:

A little about ‘Portraits’ and its conception?

The idea behind ‘Portraits’ is to create moments that become timeless. So it’s all about getting back old world craft, working with embroideries that are timeless. I’ve used architectural motifs in antique gold and mixed them with mirrors and ivory thread work on beige/emerald green/deep wine and salmon pinks to bright old world red with gold of 1950s and ’60s inspired by Meena Kumari’s look in Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam and Pakeezah.

You have, in this particular collection, entwined the traditional and the modern. Could you talk a little about this transition in Indian fashion today, and the idea of merging the two concepts to produce what is essentially very contemporary and current?

I’ve been working with Kashmiri embroideries and chikankari work from UP’s Mijwan village, highlighting them at fashion weeks’ collections and on celebrities for the last four years. I try to pay a lot more attention to old world timeless embroidery and craft and present them in the language of today. This means using them on younger cuts and silhouettes and moulding them in a contemporary style.

Your line of bespoke shoes is also making its debut appearance at the week. A little about that, and the inspiration behind the line?

While this is the first time the shoes made for the collection have our name to it, I have always worked on shoes to make them go with my collections, adding embroideries, laces and all. Last year Louboutin designed shoes for my Indian couture collections and we did embroideries of the collection on the shoes. This time, the bespoke shoes have my name on the shoes as they are designed specifically for this collection. This line is a contemporary take on a traditional mujori.

What is it that keeps your enthusiasm for your work alive, and how do you find inspiration for your collections? Is it difficult, to maintain a balance between what your work stands for and the originality and uniqueness that each collection must have?

My enthusiasm is that I love my work. I’ve spent 24 years with costume design and nine years with my independent label. The last five years there has been a rise and a very good growth to my label and last three years have seen a phenomenal rise. In the next three years, I want to open more flagship stores and reach out to as many people as possible. When I feel when like I can make someone feel beautiful and good via my clothes, it is then that I feel accomplished.

We know that the Indian fashion industry is growing and changing, with more experiments, and more opportunities. Why do you think that is? What is opening the doors?

In the last two years, there has been a huge change, with so many foreign brands, e-commerce portals, stylist, designers entering the scene. I love the new young energy. The idea that one has to keep re-inventing one’s craft and one’s belief and what one’s brand stands for is exciting to me.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 10:56:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/timeless-contemporary/article6229009.ece

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