The name Manish Malhotra is synonymous with all things fantastical, couture and grand – without compromising on the practicality. The designer presented his latest collection in Mumbai at the couture show supported by Sunil Sethi Design Alliance, held at JW Marriot. An extension of his trademark grandiose and dreamy designs, the line titled Zween, (beautiful in Arabic), is inspired by the beauty and splendour of the Middle East, a culture the designer has been long fascinated with.
To do justice to the collection, the venue was transformed into an iconic Broadway set complete with mirrors running the length and breadth of the runway, which was basically the grand staircase decked up. The idea was to move away from a typical banquet set-up and rather opt for a space that brought in a couture element. “For all my shows, I always pay extra attention to every detail from the outfits to the whole set-up. I am personally involved in every aspect to ensure the showcase is nothing short of glamour and elegance. With my Couture 2018-19 collection, the idea was to make people experience haute couture in a manner they have never experienced before. Hence, we went ahead with a venue that gave us multiple elements to work with like the pillars, tall ceiling and the staircase. Each of these elements were integrated to make a stunning staircase runway that played as a perfect accessory for my show, given the larger-than-life outfits and voluminous trails,” says designer Manish Malhotra who completed 13 years of his label, Manish Malhotra.
The collection, Zween, was a stunning amalgamation of east and west with 3-D embellishments, thread embroideries, tassels, feathers, swirls of sequins and Swarovski crystals. “Various aspects from the Middle-Eastern culture – be it the old architecture, black and white cinema to the flora and fauna have inclined me in deriving inspiration for my couture line. Mythical winged Arabian horses in 3-D embellishments, vibrant tassels and feathers, swirls of sequins and Swarovski crystals, along with intricate floral threadwork embroidery – all came together to weave a sensuous tapestry of Arabian culture,” says Malhotra.
The fabrics used to make lehengas and saris varied from silk, organza, velvet and net. The colour palette ranged from ivories to greens, oranges, golds, lavender and blues. Malhotra’s focus has always been to bring precision and intricacy with his ensembles and with Zween being a collection inspired by Middle Eastern mystic, he needed intricacy in each garment to be authentic. “I have been working with craftsmen from different regions of the country for a reasonable amount of time, thus, translating the individual talents from diverse cultures wasn’t as big a challenge as the scale of production was – we created almost 60-70 couture pieces. It was challenging to balance this production with the demands of our client orders. We worked round-the-clock and it has been totally worth it,” says Malhotra.