‘Weddings have become more intimate now’: Manish Malhotra

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Manish Malhotra has carved out a place for himself in the fashion world. Today he is among the leading designers and the first choice of Bollywood actors. Of Kajol for Sara Ali Khan, the fashion designer has been a celebrity favorite because of his elegant and glamorous designs. Enjoying the response to her latest fashion flick Nooraniyat, Manish is also planning to take part in this year’s 2021 Vogue Wedding Show, which has gone digital this time around. The luxury wedding exhibition, which runs until June 30, will feature bridal lehenga, jewelry and wedding services, including decoration and hotels.

In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, the designer as talked about his latest collection, wedding trends, pandemic mode, and more.

Tell us about Nooraniyat, your latest collection.

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Nooraniyat is a collection that I really enjoyed creating. It offers a wide range of kalidars, lehengas, dresses, jackets, shararas, kurtas, palazzos, dupattas and signature blouses that suit a variety of palettes and occasions. The collection is in sherbet and blush tones of hot pink, lilac, gray-blue, beige-gold, powder blue, gold-silver metallic among many others. He expertly embroidered pieces to two-tone, color-blocked silhouettes that travel from classic aesthetics to a more dynamic new-age look of the contemporary era.

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How is the Vogue Wedding Show 2021 different for you this year?

I have been with the Vogue Wedding Show since its inception. It has always been a great association. This year VWS has gone digital, which is exciting. Previously, when the VWS was physically held, when many people visited us, many others could not for various reasons. Now that the VWS is live, it will be accessible to everyone around the world. How awesome! Everyone will be able to see the latest collection, connect with the designers and even choose the full look from head to toe from the comfort of their home. My Taban, Ruhaaniyat and Nooraniyat collections will be available for everyone to view and buy, so there will be a variety of styles to choose from.

How have pandemic lockdowns been for you?

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I always look on the positive side of things. On a personal level, I lost 17 kg during the lockout and it was really rewarding. I guess it would have been difficult to manage with my regular schedule.

And professionally, I’ve had my fair share of time to pause and think. Introspect, retrospectively and reinvent myself. I spent a lot of time with my mom, watching movies, having tea together, and having a good time for myself – drawing, reading, painting. I really learned to love reading and fitness became part of my daily routine as well. Overall it has been very good.

How is the fashion industry coping with the changes induced by a pandemic?

Necessity is the mother of all inventions. the pandemic forced us to change the way we operate. Travel is limited now, it is not advisable to go out too much, which is why many clients like to do online consultations now. I do so much and it’s awesome because thanks to the tech world we are all connected all the time. Plus, I started making fashion couture movies which are a whole new take on fashion shows. I really enjoyed the process of making these films as much as I enjoyed creating and designing the new collections.

How do you make sure your designs are sustainable?

I think durability is one of the most important factors that come into play. As a label, and as a top level designer today, I think it is very important for me to take into account factors such as the technology, sustainability and empowerment. For businesses that have so much confidence, or for any business, it is important to follow these values. We are working to imbue them all in our journey. We work with an NGO for empowerment and are very particular about electricity and water.

Marriages have undergone a drastic change amid the pandemic. Does the wedding sewing industry have too?

Weddings have become more intimate now. There are fewer people in attendance, but it is still a special day for the bride, groom and their families who create memories for life. So they will always dress for the occasion. The number of events has surely decreased, but even with a limited number of events, the atmosphere and ambiance remain special.

How do you see the digital makeover of the Indian fashion industry in the midst of a pandemic?

I have always believed that change is the only constant. Personally, I love the new digital trend. When I started doing fashion shows, only a limited number of people attended. The photos would come out a day or two later and then we would wait to see the reaction from our customers. But today, everything is instantaneous. A live digital fashion show is watched by millions of people seated all over the world. Reactions are immediate through comments and likes. With my previous “Ruhaaniyat” collection, I launched my fashion films. I enjoyed the process so much that I decided to do it again, this time with my last collection “Nooraniyat” and I intend to do it with my future collections as well. The digital trend is only growing and following this trend is not only the wise thing to do for your brand, but also allows you to learn so many different sides of the fashion world. I certainly love the process and intend to follow it.

Who is your all-time muse and why?

There cannot be a muse all the time because every time the essence is different. I love the individuality of each muse as it adds to the personality of the collection, so it is essential for me to have a muse that reflects the essence of the collection.

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