Men + women + clothes + accessories = wisdom of Manish Malhotra. He needs no introduction because the above equation is a testament to his enduring relevance in the world of fashion and entertainment. He's the grand master whose influence on the way we dress is felt around the world. In an exclusive interview from the Washington hotel in London, we ask Manish Malhotra about fashion, films, IIFA and why Blue is his favourite colour.
IIFA is back to where it all started, in the U.K. How excited are you to be attending the three day spectacular event in Yorkshire starting from today?
IIFA is one of the best celebrated award functions. They have proved that since the year 2000. As a company, they are very hospitable, they are caring and above all, the awards are genuine because they are voted by the various celebrities and members of the Indian film fraternity. Having won three IIFA awards myself, I think they are the best.
Tell us your role in the IIFA's Star Ki Talash contest. How was it to groom the winners?
It was a bit different for me because for the first time I was grooming a girl who is just an ordinary face. I had to make her look glamorous. I had to make her work out, give tips on the diet, etc. We made a lot of outfits for her for the press conference, The Train premiere, the cricket match and the awards night where Neena will be seen walking with Anil Kapoor. As far as the boy is concerned, he will be groomed by Anna Singh and will be seen walking the red carpet with Lara Dutta.
Do you believe in the saying 'Clothes maketh the man'?
Somewhere I don't agree with you because it's not the clothes that makes the man but the personality which makes the man. I think my take on clothes and cinema has always been to enhance that personality, not necessarily what's in fashion is going to look good on me or you but what looks good on us can become our style statement.
Name five celebrities you love designing clothes for.
There are many but to name a few there is Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and the new comer in my list is Tusshar Kapoor. I've almost designed clothes for all the A-listers and new comers in the industry right from Sridevi to Deepika who is going to be launched in Farah Khan's next film in October this year.
How tedious can your profession get?
It can get very tiring because there is a lot of pressure as everything is changing rapidly around you, from fashion to people, both have become very demanding and lots of time you cannot really go beyond the character as a costume designer. So yes, it is a worn-out profession sometimes.
Which celebrities are going to grace the IIFA awards night by wearing Manish Malhotra outfits this year?
I cannot recall but only Sridevi might walk the red carpet with my design this year. In fact, I don't even know whether she is going to attend or not.
Besides your role as a costume designer, do you get time to watch Hindi films?
I've grown up by watching Hindi films. I love them and I watch every single film. I want to be a first costume designer who turns into a director, and you will see my dream come true next year.
Which film has a chance of winning the IIFA trophy this year?
I think Lage Raho Munnabhai should win it because it's a simple film made with honesty.
What's more challenging - designing clothes for men or for women?
Designing clothes for me is not difficult and for men it's even easier, but somehow I enjoy designing outfits for women because there is so much more to do. Today, men's fashion is changing by leaps and bounds but it will always be the girl's prerogative.
Which is your favourite colour and why?
My favourite colour is Blue because for me it's a colour of peace.
Any message for your fans, who specially come to Mumbai to buy your outfits?
Not only Mumbai but they even come to Dubai where I have my store. Someday I would like to open my retail store in London too. That will save them their travelling fare.