Few Indian designers have had an impact on the masses the way visionary couturier Manish Malhotra has. Known for his glamorous, bold creations, Malhotra has reinvented Indianwear, creating a distinct modern identity for traditional silhouettes that has earned him a legion of fans. It was this ethos that was celebrated at the third leg of the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2019-20 in Hyderabad, where the designer interpreted the theme ‘My Identity, My Pride’.
Adding glitz and glamour to the proceedings was Malhotra’s scintillating show. A multi-faceted designer who has created couture, pret, menswear and even a line of makeup, Malhotra is known for dressing the who’s who of Bollywood, apart from globals icons like Michael Jackson and Reese Witherspoon. Given his over 20-year legacy in the industry and how he has evolved, the ‘My Identity, My Pride’ was a fitting theme.
That Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2019-20 chose Malhotra comes as no surprise — both have a trajectory of going from strength to strength. In its 15th milestone year, the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2019-20 is moving beyond de riguer fashion shows. With designer Ashish Soni as curator-in-chief, and an exclusive collaboration with the Fashion Design Council of India, the latest edition is akin to festivals of fashion that is wholly seeped in the universe of pride and the themes of ‘Craft’, ‘Blend’, and ‘Identity’.
In keeping with this, the Hyderabad edition too upped the ante on the fashion discourse in the country.
The ‘Collection Gallery’ was spread across three zones (to represent ‘Craft’, ‘Blend’, and ‘Identity’), and included over 45 famed designers such as Abraham & Thakore, JJ Valaya, Shantanu & Nikhil, Gaurav Gupta, Wendell Rodricks, Amit Aggarwal, Anju Modi, Varun Bahl, Rajesh Pratap Singh and more. ‘The Showcase’, a talent hunt launched in October, saw designer Sushant Abrol reveal his maiden creations; aptly titled ‘Beyond the Clouds’, it was inspired by the Indian army and was dedicated to his brother who lost his life whilst battling for the country. At ‘Style Forum’, fashion veterans Aparna Pinky Reddy, designers Shantanu & Nikhil, Asmita Marwa, Archana Rao, and others spoke about the importance of brand consistency and design language in today’s fashionscape.
True to form, his creations featuring tropical florals, anti-fit silhouettes, and long trails set a bold tone for collection, with sorbet and iridescent shades striking the perfect balance between wearable and wow. Adding to the grandeur of the evening was showstopper Kareena Kapoor Khan, who lived up to her status of being one of Bollywood’s most sought-after stars, dazzling the runway in a heavily embroidered and embellished ensemble. Accompanying her was the star-of-the-moment Kartik Aaryan, who looked dapper in a contemporary sherwani paired with iridescent sneakers.
We spoke to Malhotra on his association with Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2019-20.
Tell us more about how you have interpreted the theme of ‘My Identity, My Pride’ in the show
The fashion industry is a fast-paced, ever-evolving space, whose limits are constantly tested by everyone. It’s an absolute honour to be associated with Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2019-20, for which I will paint a picture of tradition on a canvas of technology, and that will be an expression of my identity in a unique fashion.
What are some of the craft and textile techniques you have used?
Besides Kashmiri mijwan, you will see a lot of threadwork and beaded embroidery.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
My personal aesthetic is different from what I do. For women, I love glamour and splendour, but I choose to wear minimal and classy. So, be trendless and define your own aesthetic, exactly the way you like.
What defines a Manish Malhotra Woman?
The unapologetic you. She is unafraid to experiment and has many moods. She knows what she likes and doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind. She likes traditions but wants to wear it her own way.
One thing that defines great fashion
Embracing your own style, as fashion changes but style remains
What made you associate with Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2019-20?
Blenders Pride Fashion Tour is completing 15 years, and interestingly, my couture label is completing 15 years in July, 2020. So, it’s a double celebration. Blenders Pride Fashion Tour is something that brings designers together from across the board to one platform and is a launchpad for models and designers. What more could we ask for?
The next chapter of the tour will see designers Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla in Delhi, showcasing their interpretation of ‘My Blend, My Pride’
All images: Courtesy Blenders Pride Fashion Tour