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Manish Malhotra on designing the abaya sari and the Middle-Eastern bride

Calling all middle-eastern brides as Manish Malhotra comes together with Emirati designer, Hessa Al Falasi to create the abaya sari.

The versatility of the sari is an established fact. From sari-inspired gowns to the bikini sari, there is no dearth of creative iterations brands have lent to the nine yards. In its latest form, Bollywood’s favourite designer Manish Malhotra collaborated with Emirati designer, Hessa Al Falasi to create the abaya sari. The duo came together as a part of Etihad’s ‘Hosting the World’ series that celebrates UAE’s Golden Jubilee.

Manish Malhotra Abaya Sari

The sari, in question, boasts of signature MM elements like the coloured borders at the bottom and beautiful embroidery. The silhouette has the flare and colour of a traditional abaya combined with the drapes of sari. Ethiad also shared a video showcasing the making of the abaya sari with a cabin crew wearing the stunning outfit. The abaya sari is a great example of cultural integration and is sure to please Manish Malhotra‘s huge following in the Middle East.


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In conversation with designer Manish Malhotra about the abaya sari:

Tell us about your collaboration with Emirati designer Hessa Al Falasi for the abaya sari?

To celebrate UAE’s 50 years, Etihad invited me to collaborate with local designer Hessa Al Falasi to create a unique silhouette that brings both our worlds together. Hessa beautifully constructs the Abaya and one of my all-time favourite silhouettes is the sari. We decided to combine both our design aesthetics and create the Abaya Sari, the first of its kind and it was, indeed, a fun experience.

Tell us more about the unique style and construction of the abaya sari?

Keeping in mind the classic silhouette of an Abaya with the flair of the Indian silhouette of the saree, infusing the two, not only brings about a new construction but also takes forward, both our worlds, to a more global audience. The saree is known for its free-flowing drape which is known as the pallu. We decided that we would add the essence of the pallu onto the abaya. Furthermore, I wanted to include the pop of colours and embroidery to complete the look. I knew they would meet at a crossroad of elegance and modesty, making it an effortless, chic, versatile, and one of its kind sartorial creation.

Your designs have a huge following in the Middle Eastern markets. Can we look forward to more such crossover pieces making it to your collection?

I love the Middle East. UAE is a country I admire for its vision, its heritage culture and beautiful people. I’ve had great fun creating this piece and if opportunities arise, undoubtedly, I would love to create a whole line of crossover pieces.


All Images: Courtesy Manish Malhotra.

Akshita Nahar Jain
Sr Associate Editor
Akshita Nahar Jain has worked with various publications, including Elle, Harper’s Bazaar Bride, and Time Out Delhi, and written extensively on fashion and lifestyle. A sucker for alliteration and stylish sitcoms, she enjoys scrolling the web for less travelled destinations.
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