Fashion designer Manish Malhotra seems to be killing two birds with one stone. Whilst he is in the capital as a costume designer for Karan Johar’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, he has recently launched his own collection in London at Aashni + Co. Hosted by British Asian Trust,��BizAsia had the privilege of attending the press meet and greet where the designer was present.
Talking about his collection in London, Malhotra stated, “I�۪ve launched my collections in India and Dubai, however it my first time in London. It�۪s 10 years to my label this year, and 25 years as a costume designer for movies and I�۪m here for Karan Johar�۪s ��Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, where I�۪m styling Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan), so I am here in London working on a film. I�۪m here tonight launching my collection and it�۪s seeming like London is going to become, over the next year, one of the most important place for us. We�۪ll do a lot more here, and not just once a year, but maybe twice a year launching a collection.”
Malhotra has come a very long way since he started his fashion career within the industry. He spoke about his journey from sales-boy to designer, “I used to model, and I used to paint and sketch and that�۪s how a past my studies even though I was such a bad student, I was only fascination and interested by the movies, and I found myself working in a boutique quiet like this as a sales boy and I was really excited about selling clothes and attending to clients. I was 21 and I though ��Ok why don�۪t I get a tailor home and make clothes�۪. I met a photographer who showed my work to Sridevi, who was at that time in ��89 a very good actor, and she was the latest star at the time, and she really liked my work that I showed her. She said �� Why don�۪t you style my photo shoots�۪, and here I was at the age of 23, I was a costume designer. So all the actors of the next year were working with me. So that time for me it was very important to learn the craft, I was attending workshops. I even asked directors and producers for scripts. Before I came in they did not do that, they would never give a script to a costume designer.”
“Since I love design I though why not style in movies. I�۪m one of the first designers to introduce styling into movies and the whole system was shopping abroad to style, like if a girl is from London, or she�۪s from New York she would wear clothes from the city or her hair won�۪t change. Before I came, it was if she wore western clothes her hair was short if she wore Indian clothes her hair was long, I though how can that happen, how can a girl change from scene to scene�۪ so things like that?” he went onto add.
“Life and that time was so busy, I was working with this actress, I�۪m travelling the world here, I never ever though I�۪d do my own stuff ever. For me it was all about movies and I was meeting movie people and working on clothes. Then came I was offered a store, and they said it would be 9 or 10 years. Then I launched a store and was there for about 1 or 2 years. Then I came to Sheetal Designs, working on films and mainstream design.”
Malhotra was planning on going into film ��making, however the world of fashion didn’t seem to want him to leave, “Then I wanted to direct a film. So I left the design studio, and I wrote a script. But then in the meantime I also launched my own label and from day one, it got me really busy. So the film went into storage and there I was with my label. Slowly, slowly the label grew and suddenly it jumped up and it required a lot more attention. So I started a menswear line. It�۪s been planned and not so planned. The last 5 years the label�۪s taken over. Now when I do a film I have to find time, where it�۪s actually coming in the way of my label.”
When asked about what inspires him when ��it comes to creating new designs, as many successful creatives, the designer didn’t have a particular subject, as he answered, “I get more inspired by what I see or hear. Whether its in a painting, a design or people or even a colour scheme on a wall.”
He went onto state, “Me as a designer, I like to move with the globe trends, like to reinvent but not lose the essence of what I am. I can�۪t like after three month become another person.”
He was also asked about what he thought of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s style of fashion. “To me fashion is quit individual, it�۪s not necessarily always a trend. Fashion changes every three months or 6 months, whilst the style and being yourself remains. I think what�۪s nice about Modi is that he�۪s himself. Yes he has his own particular style of clothes but he carries them off extremely well, and it�۪s also about what he does and represents.”
And when it came to the most fashionable man in Bollywood, Malhotra was quick to suggest, “Amitabh Bachchan. I think he�۪s the most stylish.”
The event was also attended by��British Asian Trust ambassadors such as actress Laila Rouass; newsreader and presenter Sonali Shah; and BBC Radio news presenter, Ritula Shah.
The British Asian Trust was founded in 2007 by HRH The Prince of Wales, who wanted to do something about the widespread poverty and hardship that he saw in South Asia. He turned to the entrepreneurial spirit of the British Asian diaspora, aiming to link them with innovative social entrepreneurs and grassroots interventions in the region. Since its inception, The British Asian Trust has convened funds, become a trusted navigator and raised awareness through the backing of high profile voices like Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, music mogul Simon Cowell and Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji. To date, the Trust has made a real difference in the lives of over three million people in South Asia.
Founded in 2012 by one of the UK’s leading South Asian fashion influencers and tastemakers, Aashni Anshul Doshi (Shah), Aashni + Co pioneers the most desirable edit in Indian high fashion. A beautiful concept store in London’s Notting Hill with e-commerce site, Aashni + Co has been established with the purpose of providing access to visionary designers of India for the residents of UK.
Malhotra’s collection is displayed at Aashni + Co in Notting Hill, London.
Photos by Shyama Sudra & Sanoobar Patel