Manish Malhotra is making a new beginning at 55, after having achieved superstardom in the world of fashion. The couturier, costume stylist, entrepreneur, and soon-to-be film director, has decided to keep celebrations to a bare minimum this year. Currently, in Rajasthan, Manish posted a series of stories on Instagram exploring the beautiful state and its wildlife. Happy and content with his journey so far, the designer is grateful that he gets to spend his birthday with his family. Keeping the celebrations intimate this year, Manish Malhotra says, “I have decided to keep it intimate and celebrate it with my family.”
A year older and wiser, Manish is grateful for many things this year and looking forward to the multiple “nexts” in his life. “I am extremely grateful for life in general. The pandemic has been tough on all of us but thankfully we’ve emerged stronger. There’s so much going on in my life this year – from new collections, tech entrance, venture collaborations, and I shall be making my film directorial debut so that is something I am really looking forward to.”
From designing 550 costumes for the musical adaptation of Mughal-e-Azam to announcing his first film, a period drama, as director this year, the transition from designer to director has been a dream come true for Manish. Elated to don the director’s hat, Manish says, “This new chapter seems like a natural progression following my elaborate career of over 30 years. Cinema has defined, influenced, fired, and fueled my work throughout the years. It’s been a childhood dream to direct a movie and 31 years of being in the industry as a costume stylist and designer, life has come full circle to intertwine my two loves that are movies and fashion. Post the lockdown, I directed my fashion films, and I loved the process so much. It is only a matter of time before I bring my vision alive on screen.”
During the pandemic, Manish introduced India’s first luxury virtual store for his clients who couldn’t travel and introduced online consultations. That worked so well that he continues the practice. Manish is of the opinion that moving with time is important and it will only keep you relevant and connected with your audience. “Pre-pandemic I was working nonstop, taking up projects 24×7 and post-pandemic I got to spend quality time with my mother at home during the lockdown. I also got time to organize my thoughts around my following collections. However, now I’ve decided to pause from time to time. I also focus on myself by trying to lead a healthy lifestyle with a workout and good diet,” says Manish.
As an Indian luxury designer and the founder of the eponymous label, Manish Malhotra, he has been an inspiration when it comes to the business of fashion. While fear of being at the rough end of challenges never held Manish down, he strongly believes that it is his undying love towards his work that keeps him going. “I never had a formal education in fashion and design, but I had the will to learn because I truly loved it. I learnt on the job. They say if you love your work, it will never feel like work and I was never worried about where it took me, I just had so much of a drive for it. I wake up with the same passion even today.”
Having redefined fashion for over three decades now, Manish who has worked with a lot of young people, believes that the young generation bring the necessary zest to the industry, be it films or fashion. “This generation believes in ‘it’s ok to go ahead and break the rules, not follow a definitive pattern and that sometimes leads to great innovations. However, one must be wary of your client’s needs and requirements and add your personal touch. Lastly, always have the passion for what you do,” says Manish.
Change is inevitable, but with a positive mindset, one can overcome any challenge, believes Manish. And sustainability is one of the most important factors Manish has introduced in his label. “I think sustainability is one of the most important factors coming in. As a label, and as a first-tier designer today, I think it is very important for me to consider factors like technology, sustainability, and empowerment. For enterprises that are so trusted, or for any company, it is necessary for us to move with these values. We are working on imbibing all of them in our journey. We work with an NGO for empowerment and are very particular about electricity and water.”
Manish Malhotra’s path breaking makeover for actors on the silver screen and giving them an individual style narrative in personal lives, whilst walking alongside in their journey of stardom. From evergreen actress the late Sridevi to her gorgeous daughters Janhvi and Khushi, Manish has been at the center of all iconic moments when it comes to Bollywood and its stars. So, what makes him Bollywood’s BFF? “I am so grateful to work with such amazing people through my journey. Whether it’s working with Rekhaji or the late Sridevi and also now designing and styling for the next generation such as Sara, Janhvi and Ananya, I’m all about the personal connect. I love to get to know the person I’m dressing up. It’s important for me to know them to be able to give them what they want. In this process most of them transpired into close friendships and some even became like family,” says Manish.