By Sonya Rehman
Kicking off this month, the Amazon India Couture Week (AICW) ’15 featured a bevy of Bollywood celebrities blazing the ramp in breath-taking ensembles. Drama, luxury and art – from the ramp’s transformation into a luxury yacht for Monisha Jaising’s The Sailing Bride collection, to Anju Modi’s stunning line inspired by Rumi and Persian miniature art, AICW this year, was an event that truly pushed the envelope in each and every way.
However, the highlight of the event was the renowned designer, Manish Malhotra and his favourite muse, touted the most beautiful woman in the world – Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Manish’s show-stopper for the evening that got every camera clicking and everyone talking. Titled, The Empress Story, Manish’s collection was grand, moody and luxurious; with cropped jackets, billowing skirts and shades of vermillion, teal and maroon.
Standing as one of the most celebrated and renowned fashion designers in both the local and international arena of fashion, Manish’s contribution – spanning over two decades – to Bollywood and all things style and glamour, cannot go unnoticed. In conversation with Masala!, Manish talks about his first meeting with Aishwarya, dressing Michael Jackson and more.
How did your collaboration with Aishwarya come together for AICW ’15?
Well, I’ve known her for years, we go pretty far back. Whenever there’s a couture week or a couture collection, I always first think of her to be a part of it. The thing with Aishwarya is that not only is she Indian, but she’s also a celebrity who is globally recognized. She fits in well vis-à-vis Indian sensibility.
How did you both first meet?
I met her in 1993 when I was conducting a small workshop. At the time she was shooting an advertisement with Arjun Rampal. I found her to be extremely professional and quite nice.
In your opinion, how has Aishwarya’s style evolved over the years?
I think it has evolved in a great way. Not only Aishwarya, all of our stars have evolved over the years in the fashion and style department. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. With Aishwarya, I now find her to be more comfortable in how she carries herself. She’s much stronger, and extremely confident.
You’ve been in the industry for over two decades – what are some of your most memorable milestones?
In 1995 I was the first designer to receive a Filmfare award for Costume Design (for the movie Rangeela). That was one of the highlights of my career. Another memorable experience was dressing Michael Jackson in the 90s for a Bollywood show in New York. He was amazing, I’d dressed him in a black sherwani for the event.
When are you due to launch your store in Dubai?
Early next year. But first, my London store opens in March this year; the collection features western silhouettes with Indian embroideries because I want to take our craft to the international level. I’m looking forward to it.