Mumbai, March 31 (IANS) He looks back with pride on how he set trends in Bollywood with fashion. Celebrated designer Manish Malhotra, who gave startling makeovers to many screen scorchers in Hindi filmdom, says he feels it's time he focussed his energy on expanding his brand and involved himself with heritage crafts.
In the past, he has styled for several Bollywood films, and he has continued that passion by working on Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor-starrer "Ki & Ka" and the Aishwarya Rai Bachchan- starrer "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil".
During his 25 years as a stylist in the film industry, he has designed looks for Urmila Matondkar, Karisma Kapoor, Kajol, Rani Mukerji, Aishwarya, Preity Zinta, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone.
On the sidelines of the opening day of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer-Resort 2016, Malhotra delved upon his journey and told IANS: "My journey has been overwhelming and humble. I chose the path for the love of Bollywood and films. I introduced styling and redefined costumes in movies - from putting together looks to shopping internationally.
"I had set a trend in movies and down the line, I feel I have enjoyed the process immensely and now, it is time to focus on my label 'Manish Malhotra'. I have completed 10 years of my eponymous label and now the focus is to take it to the next level by expanding the brand globally, presenting innovation in my outfits, working with heritage crafts and craftsmen and much more."
He has been doing so with his past few lines -- whether it's by exploring crafts of Kutch or Kashmir.
The designer showcased his latest collection on Tuesday, with "Ki & Ka" star Arjun Kapoor and actress Jacqueline Fernandes as showstoppers, while Kareena cheered on.
Describing his line, Malhotra said: "The collection was based on elements of nature. I recently shifted into my new home, which is surrounded by trees and nature and I believe it is very calming, relaxing and soothing."
In over two decades of his career, Malhotra is now not only a regular at India's major fashion weeks but is also a popular name on the runways of Paris, Milan and New York.
Asked if he feels Indian celebrities try too hard to raise the fashion bar on international platforms, he said: "I believe Indian celebrities are doing great internationally and have increased the fashion bar on international platforms. Priyanka Chopra looked fabulous at the Oscars."
The designer has a knack for creating glamorous ensembles with traditional Indian colours, craftsmanship, textures and embroidery since he set foot in the fashion world in the 1990s. He feels proud now that "designers are working towards reviving Indian textiles and heritage weaves".
"I have been visiting weavers from Banaras, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh and what I have seen is amazing. I want to use a lot more handloom in my collections.
" 'The Regal Threads' was my first collection crafted using this new design language and it has received a phenomenal response. I love the texture of Indian weaves and the fact that each of them has a unique story to tell," he said.
And what about the trends that are making big in fashion world nowadays?
"The biggest trends are lehenga skirts with trails paired with crop tops. My new collection for LFW is Indian in aesthetic and essence but has global and modern influences in the form of cuts and styles. Lehengas with trails, breezy jumpsuits and structured tops and blouses are the trends for this season," Malhotra told IANS.
The summer-resort edition of the five-day fashion extravaganza is taking place at hotel St. Regis here.
(The writer's trip is at the invitation of Lakme Fashion Week organisers. Nivedita can be contacted at email@example.com)