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Bollywood designer Manish Malhotra talks about his inspiration in the Middle East

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DUBAI: Manish Malhotra, Bollywood’s favorite stylist and the go-to designer of Indian brides around the world, is a leading voice in global fashion.

The Mumbai-based designer is also well-known in the Middle East, opening his first store in Dubai 14 years ago, so it’s no surprise that the first city he visited after the easing of restrictions on trip to India was Dubai.

Malhotra has visited many cities in the Middle East for both business and pleasure, including Riyadh and Bahrain, and told Arab News: I am always wide-eyed at the beauty of the region. So much so that for two years he designed a collection inspired by the region called Zween.

Even my recent Ruhaaniyat collection, although it draws inspiration from the Awadh and Punjab regions, has defining elements from the Middle East. I guess the beautiful culture of the Arab region influenced me so much that it became my design signature.

The collection was released through digital film with Janhvi Kapoor making a special appearance. The young actress is a muse for the creator. (His late mother, Sridevi was also a muse and close friend.)

Malhotra has presented two collections since the start of the pandemic and notes that COVID-19 has impacted fashion with an emphasis on quality over quantity.

People don’t want too much today, so versatile, seasonal outfits will be in demand, he said.

During his short break, shopping and dining out was a priority, but the designer also met some of his local VIP clients.

Dubai’s clientele are experimental and love to try new things, it allows me to explore more with my designs and I love it here.

He noticed that the brides he met always wanted this special outfit, but there was a new attitude to dressing.

Today, the wearer has taken over everything, he says. The occasion and the season are more important than the trend and the theme. It gives me so much joy to see young girls and boys confident in their style and aesthetics and really knowing what they like and want to wear.

Malhotra is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its eponymous fashion brand this year. It also has its own beauty lines and a house line is next on the list.

Plus, he’s designed for the film industry for 30 years (Rangeela, Jab We Met, and Student of the Year are some of the films he’s worked on).

And during COVID-19, he used his voice to raise awareness of the plight of Indian artisans, many of whom are day laborers.

Malhotra hopes to be back in the Middle East next year with her collection; before COVID-19, the designer was a regular part of flash retail events in the region. And he can come back before he plans to come back for New Years Eve.

I love the vibe here, he says. Its structure, infrastructure and equipment are quite large here.



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