"Couture is the most abused word today"

Looking dapper in his signature Burberry shirt, designer Manish Malhotra was enjoying a quick break while sipping on his favourite masala chai post a fitting session. “I am like an uncle,” he chuckles, settling into the interview, “I am a foodie; if I don’t get food I get angry.

Beige, mustard, warm brown tones and corals are the colours that will dominate designer Manish Malhotra’s collection

And like any Punjabi, I love Indian Chinese food.” Next, he skips to another off-fashion beat -- to discuss his fascination with smoking. “I don’t drink or smoke; so, I need to have tea to get me through. But I always fascinate having a cigarette in my hand and looking serious, like an actor seated for a script narration. I remember, long ago, at Mikanos (I was with Shahrukh and Rani), and I tried to fulfill this brooding image in my head when I sat at a bar with a cigarette in my hand but then, I didn’t know what to do with it,” he laughs.

Malhotra busy with at the fittings session yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan

For a designer who will be doing the opening show for Lakmé Fashion Week today, Malhotra appears relaxed and his energy is infectious. His show will feature pieces from his diffusion line that he launched recently, at his new store in Mumbai. “It’s a bridge between pret and couture. Couture and royalty are the most abused words in fashion, today. Diffusion line is more of a lighter, evening wear version; lighter, in terms of embellishment and pricing. It isn’t for the young but for the young-minded. Also, rustic was an influence, which I have never done before. Apart from Kashmiri embroidery, I have used Kutch and Rajasthan. 

There’s mirror and tilla work, and thread embroidery, but it is glamourised and very me, as I feel every brand has its voice,” he says. Malhotra reveals that it isn’t a bridal but festive collection that can be worn for the mehendi ceremony and sangeet, “I want people to wear my clothes for Rakhi and Ganpati too!” he remarks. He will also introduce ghagra pants (flared pants). Having just showcased a beautiful vintage-inspired collection at Delhi’s Couture Week, we prodded him if he sees a marked difference between the fashion sensibilities in Mumbai and the Capital.

“Every one is always running around in this city with no time; it’s the big difference that affects its tastes. I want to introduce luxury into the city. Mumbai’s people and the city have this energy to carry anything off. I will always remain a Mumbai Boy (I think I am still a boy),” he smiles. Malhotra will complete 25 years in the industry in two years, while his label will complete a decade: “I will never have a showstopper for my show just for the sake of it (there’s none for this edition too). But for my 25th year show all the actresses I ever worked will walk the ramp!” 

Manish on Manish
I have also bought a haveli in Delhi and placed furniture in it, and converted it into a store! And I want to loose seven kilos. 

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