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Manish Malhotra (born 5 December 1966) is an Indian model turned Costume designer, and stylist known for his works in Bollywood, Telugu cinema, Tamil cinema, Hollywood, and Television.
In 1998, he ventured into modelling and runway fashion designing with his couture Reverie-Manish Malhotra.He received appreciation for his glamorous ensembles using traditional colours, craftsmanship, textures and embroideries presented at his first runway show in November 1999.
In 2005, he launched his couture label Manish Malhotra which offers bridal, couture, diffusion and men's wear collections and retails at two stores in Mumbai and New Delhi.
The label also retails at multi-brand boutiques across India and in Dubai.Malhotra has been reported to have been inspired by Indian craftsmanship and promotes regional handicrafts and workmanship from rural India through his association with the ‘Mijwan Welfare Society’– an NGO founded by Late Kaifi Azmi and headed by Shabana Azmi and Namrata Goyal.
In March 2017, the Philadelphia Museum of Art featured outfits from the Manish Malhotra 2013 couture collection – Thread of Emotion, in an ongoing retrospective spotlighting the Phulkari technique at their Joan Spain Gallery.
Early life and bio
Manish Malhotra was born to a Punjabi family in Mumbai, India. He studied at the Sacred Heart Boys High School, Mumbai.
Growing up, he was heavily influenced by Bollywood films – the songs, the storytelling, the colors, the costumes, the actors who adorned them and made it a point to watch every movie released. As he had a knack for sketching, he joined a painting class in the tenth grade as per his brother's suggestion.
From watching films, painting, being surrounded by mother's clothes, recreating her sarees, being strongly opinionated about his family's sartorial choices, his love for fashion, styling, and cinema grew.
While studying Arts at Elphinstone College in Mumbai, Manish was 19 when he forayed into modeling ad campaigns for brands like Fu's, Weekender, Frooti, and Goldspot. He managed to save Rs 90,000 through his modeling gigs and flew to Bangkok and Singapore in a quest to explore the world.
On his return at the onset, he joined a boutique in Bandra called Equinox, where he spent his time sketching and draping the mannequins for a year, which paid him lower than 500 Indian rupees per month.
In 1987, he decided to hire two tailors and started taking customized couture orders from his house. He wished to showcase his collection at Ensemble but didn't have the monetary means to create them at that point in time.
In 1989, he was offered a chance to style the celebrated actress Divya Bharti in a song sequence for a film by David Dhawan. However, the movie was later shelved.
Though he did not have a formal education in fashion design, Manish's love for sketching, painting, and his passion for cinema and clothes saw him veer towards the world of films and styling. He debuted in the Hindi Film Industry as a costume stylist in 1990. Since then, Malhotra has dressed an entire generation of Bollywood actors and their progeny on-screen while also extending his aesthetics with his private label.
He describes his Bollywood forte as "an entire, integrated look for a character throughout a film."
Manish Malhotra made his costume designing debut, in 1990, with the movie 'Swarg' starring Govinda, Rajesh Khanna, and Juhi Chawla.
The same year his gateway to the fashion industry opened when Rakesh Sreshtha, a photographer, introduced him to the Late Sridevi to style her photoshoot looks.
His creative process as a costume stylist began with script readings – an unheard-of practice in Hindi films then. He believed that costume was an integral part of visual storytelling to make the characters more relatable to the audience.
Manish was known to be the first costume stylist and designer to view the film as a whole. He advised the actresses and filmmakers on aspects where the character's look would just be a subset of the overall creative input, lending the costume looks their due credit.
In 1993, he designed a complete look for the Late Sridevi's character in Mahesh Bhatt's 'Gumrah'.
The film industry designer said it was during the 1993's Telugu thriller "Govinda Govinda" when Ram Gopal Varma first noticed his designs for Sridevi and reached out to him for "Rangeela".
The movie was a career-changing experience for him as the success of the film and the popularity of the fashion trends the movie established saw Filmfare Awards introduce a new category for costume designing, Malhotra being the first recipient.
Malhotra was credited for his modern and minimal yet impactful costume styling - be it the chiffon sarees in "Hai Rama,” the tangerine skater dress and the printed dress on a white base in "Tanha Tanha", pleated skirts, and boyfriend shorts in "Rangeela Re" or the Chaplinesque look in "Kya Kare Kya Na Kare". Her casual style - from co-ords, skater dresses, leotards with scarves to oversized shirts, high-waist jeans with figure-hugging tees, and wool berets- is one of the main talking points of this film.
In 1997, Manish was offered a styling and designing project for Yash Raj Chopra's Dil Toh Pagal Hai. The film depicts the love lives of the dancers in a musical dance troupe while introducing stylish athleisure wear, sheer traditional outfits, and minimal styling to Hindi Cinema.
From bicycle shorts, sports bras, wrist bands on Karisma Kapoor to Madhuri Dixit's sheer suit sets in lace and chiffon symbolic of her coy nature; made most Indian women line up at the shops for copies.
Karan Johar's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, costume looks created an absolute frenzy back in 1998 courtesy of the man behind the fashion department, Manish Malhotra, for which he won 7 individual category awards.
The DKNY tracksuits, activewear, uber-casual sweatshirts, logo tees, and denim adorned by Kajol or minimal dress to co-ords layered with oversized outerwear and the high-octane mini dress worn by Rani Mukerji, Kajol in the latter half of the film was seen draped in Sheer sarees with a hint of lace, or solid versions with an emphasis on the blouse; pastel hues and layering kurtas with sleek trousers which came to the forefront, bringing with them a timeless appeal. The off-route orange and beige lehenga as opposed to the go-to bridal red iteration. From athleisure, casual to bridal looks, Manish garnered recognition to create an array of fashion-forward looks now omnipresent and trendsetting.
In 1999, Karan Johar offered Manish Malhotra to design for the multi-starrer film 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham,’ Kareena Kapoor's look from the movie styled by Manish cemented her position as a 'true style icon' and set the entire tone for the film.
The red coordinated set of sequin top with bell-bottom pants from 'You Are My Soniya', The pastel pink choli-pants paired with an asymmetrical cut bodice from 'Bole Chudiyan,' The yellow strapless top with the sunflower choker and ombre sunglasses, Shimmer crop tops, mini-skirts, leather pants, jackets and scarves, fur collars. Manish Malhotra's styling in the film K3G is perceived to be timeless and relevant, and inspirational for every generation.
2001 was when he won the first-ever IIFA Best Costume award for the blockbuster movie 'Mohabbatein'.
In 2003, for the movie Kal Ho Na Ho, Designer Manish Malhotra worked his skills on the storyline based on NRI people.
Preity Zinta's statement pieces included scarves, trench coats, halter dresses (the red one), sweaters, slip dresses, flared pants, One-Shoulder Trend —relevant to the era and character. Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan's embroidered kurtas and Preity's blue Maahi Ve lehenga, Romancing With Twinning Colours.
The same year, he designed wedding outfits for the actress Karishma Kapoor subsequently leading to inquiries from high-profile clientele like the Raheja Builders and many more.
2004, Manish Malhotra generated noise for styling Sushmita Sen in the movie 'Main hoon Na' with flowy chiffon sarees, vibrant colors, and prints
Manish is known for making women feel sultry in sarees.
In 2007, Manish Malhotra styled Kareena Kapoor's character Geet in the movie Jab We Met. The movie saw the rise of harem pants paired with long t-shirts, phulkari scarves, corset tops (with the popular red skirt), and hoop earrings with short kurtas.
In 2008 Manish Malhotra was praised for Priyanka Chopra Jonas's look in the movie Dostana. The vibe of the film was cool chic, and so were the costumes. It saw her shimmering golden swimsuit and her Desi Girl's classic saree with a sensuous blouse launched many versions of the same.
Manish Malhotra styled and designed Deepika Padukone's looks for 'Yeh jawani hai Diwani' in 2012. The electric blue saree with a black shimmer blouse, her form-fitting kurtas with plunging necklines, low waist lehengas with short blouses, or floral dresses paired with sweaters and denim jackets, Naina Talwar's outfits received a lot of attention and praise.
His body of work of over 1000 films and designing innumerable looks for actors including Rekha Ji, Sridevi, Raveena Tandon, Kajol, Sushmita Sen to the generation of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhatt, Janhvi Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, Ananya Pandey, and many others, Manish has been telling stories through all his creations for three decades now.
The veteran was bestowed with the Filmfare Award for 30 years of outstanding contribution to Bollywood fashion.
The Bollywood designer became a household name because of the remembrance of the outfits he created, such as Priyanka Chopra's look in Desi Girl, a gold saree paired with a bralette, Kareena Kapoor's recognized outfits from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Deepika Padukone's saree in Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani, Kajol's net and chiffon sarees in 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gum' to new age actors Whether it's Janhvi (Kapoor) for 'Dhadak', Sara (Ali Khan) for 'Simmba', Ananya and Tara for 'Student of the Year 2'.
Manish has styled several actors like Shah Rukh Khan in several films, including 'Om Shanti Om,' 'Happy New Year,' 'My Name is Khan', Amitabh Bachchan in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra, Imran Khan, and many others.
The visionary, revivalist, designer continues to accolade with many prestigious awards to date.
His label "Manish Malhotra" is synonymous with opulent, contemporary, and larger-than-life glamour Indian wear.
In 1999, he collaborated with his friends, the industrialist Kajal Anand, Avanti, and Yash Birla for a brief period to design collections for their store, Reverie.
Manish Malhotra tied up with Sheetal Design Studio and set up a workshop there. He virtually became a face of the Sheetal Design Studio, and exclusively retailed out of their store at Bombay's Grant Road for 4 years.
After claiming his position as a costume director, stylist, and Hindi Film Industry fashion designer, he launched his couture label Manish Malhotra in 2005. It offers bridal, couture, diffusion, men's wear, and bespoke collections that now retail at four Mumbai, New Delhi, and Hyderabad stores.
In 2006, Manish Malhotra teamed up with Saif Belhasa Group of Companies to open his first flagship store in Dubai that catered to Arab and Global customers. The collection portrayed a range of specially designed shelas, abhayas and jalabiyas, an amalgamation of traditional craft and modern design sensibilities to reflect the essence of his designs. The store later shut in 2017.
In 2008, he opened his first two flagship stores in Khar West, Mumbai, India.
In 2013, Manish Malhotra was the first Indian designer to have opened the largest, Indian stand-alone store sprawled over 6,000 sq.ft, located in a gorgeous haveli on Kalkadas Marg in Mehrauli, Delhi. The space reflects Malhotra's trademark opulent style with arched windows, high ceilings, and vintage chandeliers.
In 2017, Manish launched the Hyderabad store, which spreads over 15,000 sq. ft. It is located in the city's posh Jubilee Hills locality to meet the designer's grand visionary identity.
Over the years, the label's aesthetic has aimed to bring together traditional Indian craftsmanship with contemporary silhouettes like gowns with intricate gold embroidery, cigarette pants paired with long jackets for women, voluminous lehengas worn with cropped blouses, or the use of non-traditional colors like royal blue, soft pink, maroon, etc., in bridal ensembles. The label's design language is claimed to exhibit glamour and is a reflection of modern India.
In 2019, many actresses wore the signature "Manish Malhotra saree" that the designer introduced in a variety of colours.
He launched his first-ever haute-couture make-up line, 'Manish Malhotra Beauty', in collaboration with My Glamm in December 2018.
2019, the celebrity couturier ventured into a new space, 'Manish Malhotra Jewellery' in partnership with heritage jeweler brand Raniwala 1881. The curation is a medley of heritage with a modern touch, much like his line of clothes, entailing an expansive range of chandbalis, danglers, studs, jhumkis, kadas, chokers, layered necklaces in a combination of uncut palkis, emeralds, diamonds, jadau, coloured stones and pearls.
Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) - part of the retail arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries acquired a 40 percent stake in brand 'Manish Malhotra' (within the lifestyle space domain) to accelerate the 16-year old couture house's growth in India and across the globe. On Friday, October 15, Reliance Brands and Manish Malhotra announced a strategic partnership as part of the deal. This is the first external investment for Manish Malhotra's brand, which has been privately held by the designer so far. The brand will continue to be led by Manish Malhotra, as Managing and Creative Director after the partnership with Reliance.