IN­DUS CREED

COU­TURIER TO BOL­LY­WOOD ROY­ALTY, MAN­ISH MALHOTRA COM­MENTS ON THE CRE­ATIVE SMOR­GAS­BOARD THAT IS IN­DIA

India Today - - CONTENTS -

Man­ish Malhotra shares the se­cret of his cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion

Rom“an­c­ing In­dia is not new; as an In­dian de­signer, there­fore, it is my pri­mary in­flu­ence and in­spi­ra­tion”

From its his­tory, to art, cul­ture, fab­rics, weav­ing and em­broi­dery tech­niques, colour pal­ettes to peo­ple, in­spi­ra­tion is al­ways around the next cor­ner in In­dia. We have a deep- rooted her­itage, es­pe­cially when it comes to fab­rics and cos­tumes. Ev­ery part of the coun­try has its own sig­na­ture style and ex­quis­ite reper­toire of weaves, em­bel­lish­ment, em­broi­dery, and hand­i­craft. Over the past sev­eral sea­sons, even on in­ter­na­tional cat­walks, an In­dian in­flu­ence has been more than ev­i­dent, whether in colour, the fab­rics used, em­broi­dery and em­bel­lish­ments, or jew­ellery. Of course, this is not new— ro­manc­ing In­dia has been a con­stant over cen­turies.

As an In­dian de­signer, then, of course all of this re­mains my pri­mary in­flu­ence and in­spi­ra­tion. As an artist, I feel it is my pre­rog­a­tive to re­vive crafts­man­ship and show­case for­got­ten crafts on the run­way. For me, it all started with the ex­quis­ite chikankari work from Mijwan, a small town in Uttar Pradesh, where I found my­self at an NGO run by Sha­bana Azmi. The needle­work done by the Mijwan girls was ex­quis­ite and in­tri­cate. It in­spired me to em­brace our cul­ture and in­flu­ence buy­ers to ap­pre­ci­ate the crafts­man­ship and the hard work that goes into it.

My next muse was the in­tri­cate Kash­miri thread work - which I dis­cov­ered when I vis­ited Kash­mir, while styling for the movie Rock­star. In search of authen­tic­ity, we went shop­ping in Sri­na­gar, Pe­hel­gam, and I came across this beau­ti­ful form of em­broi­dery, which has now taken mor­phed into my sig­na­ture style. The em­broi­dery is very clean, in­tri­cate and has an un­der­stated el­e­gance to it, which I ad­mire.

Re­cently I used the vi­va­cious and ex­u­ber­ant phulkari and bagh work from Pun­jab in my “Threads of Emo­tions” col­lec­tion. And, in ‘ Re­flec­tions’, which I showed at the re­cently con­cluded Lakme Fash­ion Week Win­ter/ Fes­tive 2013, I used a lot of mir­ror­work from Ra­jasthan and Kutch.

The muses are not just craft and fab­ric, though. For my col­lec­tion at the grand fi­nale of PCJ Cou­ture Week, my de­signs were in­spired by In­dia in the 1930s, when it

re­ally was the Raj era – with princely states, and the Bri­tish in­flu­ence. I blended tra­di­tional In­dian mo­tifs with de­tails from Indo- Bri­tish ar­chi­tec­ture, and used fab­rics such as Chan­tilly lace, and vin­tage silks. In my mind, I imag­ined kings and queens meet­ing with Bri­tish en­voys and viceroys, and chan­nelled that era of af­flu­ence and op­u­lence.

As an In­dian de­signer, my hope is to be able to dis­cover, and show­case not just for­got­ten craft tech­niques, but also high­light facets and chap­ters of our cul­ture and his­tory that have slipped away from our col­lec­tive mem­ory. Fash­ion is, af­ter all, an ex­pres­sion of who we are, and what we be­lieve in. And I be­lieve in the muse, that is In­dia.

MAN­ISH MALHOTRA

CEL­E­BRATES ‘ PHULKARI AT WIFE 2013 ( FAR

LEFT); REIN­VENTED

KASH­MIRI WORK WHICH HAS NOW­BE­COME KNOWN AS HIS SIGNA

TURE ( LEFT); DELHI COU­TURE WEEK COL­LEC

TION 2013 ( RIGHT)

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