Celebrated fashion designer Manish Malhotra believes that innovative silhouettes with an essence of local craftsmanship, culture and a touch of modernity can work wonders for the globalisation of Indian crafts.
"What works for our Indian crafts is the mix of craftsmanship, culture and a touch of modernity that does not just mean the westernisation of Indian silhouettes but about a thought that leads to several unusual and innovative silhouettes like the sari jacket, lehenga anarkali, long kurtas with palazzos," Malhotra, one of the country's leading designers, told IANS in an email interview from Mumbai.
The 48-year-old has time and again gone out of his way to revive heirloom crafts like chikankari, phulkari and Kashmiri embroidery via his creations. His work is a hit among Indian celebrities, who proudly flaunt them on national and international platforms.
Since he believes that "no other country has a deep sense of culture, artistic value and rich history as India has", he says, "as a designer, it is my prerogative to preserve my heritage and create designs that reflect our contemporary India".
"My aim is to reinvent these crafts with a new thought and bring them into the limelight. Like I always say, a floor length anarkali can look as glamorous and modern as a cocktail gown. And thankfully, a lot of influencers are now taking pride in wearing who we are," he said.
What also makes him glad is how men in the country have embraced colour in their wardrobes over the years.
"I have always loved colours and it has always reflected in all my collections. I think it's been a while that men have accepted unusual colours, especially in western wear," he said.
"For example - a pink shirt was suddenly a staple in everybody's wardrobe and still continues to be. But I think in Indian wear, a lot of change and demand for colours has been noticed in recent times," added Malhotra, who ventured into mainstream designing in 1998.
He noted that gradually, "everybody is ditching the classic black bandhgala for a deep blue bandhgala".
In fact, his latest collection comprises pink churidars, salmon pink bandi jackets, colour blocking shirts and traditional kurtas in summer colours for men.
"It's a refreshing change," said the suave designer, who looks fit as a fiddle.
For women, his collection's unique highlights are "a lot of sheer, lace, metallic, exquisite floral and unusual pastels".
The use of lace and sheer fabric can be tricky for most body types. Isn't it?
"Well, it depends on how you play around with sheer fabrics," he said.
"For example, an element of transparency mixed with textured fabrics works better for some body types as opposed to a complete sheer fabric garments," explained Malhotra, who hopes to surprise his patrons and fashionistas with his new upcoming collection, which will open the forthcoming Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) in Mumbai March 12.
The creative talent, who has dressed the likes of Kajol, Karisma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, is also busy with Bollywood projects.
"I always try to push my creative capability with everything I do, this time I am trying to push the envelope a little more for my LFW collection," he said.
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at email@example.com)