The biggest expectation from a Manish Malhotra fashion show among the crowds who wait excitedly for one is that Bollywood will show up. If it is a bridal collection, many also find it a good way to glimpse what rich and glamourous brides and grooms like for their weddings and how NRIs looks when they wed out of India in Indian clothes. Some among the audience are these people themselves and have begun ordering before the show is over.

From Manish Malhotra’s 2014 couture collection ‘Portraits’.
From Manish Malhotra’s 2014 couture collection ‘Portraits’.

‘Portraits’ was a long line of ensembles too. Lehngas, saris, long ornate jackets, velvet and silk blouses, embellished separates and traditional menswear-- loose pyjamas and a variety of jackets, some plain some decorative. Mirror work, gota, Kashmiri zari embroidery among some other techniquest had been used on a gold shade card from champagne to old gold, jewel toned rose to burnt sepia, copper to blatant shimmer. Emerald green, vermillion red, soft pink, one or two deep blues, for men complimented the golds. We liked the colour zone of the ensembles and wine coloured silken collars on some garments.

But in terms of design, let’s hope Malhotra is in a transition phase. Because even from the point of view of the populist mould that defines his sensibility, this was not a strong collection. The garments needed better fitting and sharper cuts; the embroidery and embellishments on some pieces could have been toned down, the makeup was too bland to become a dramatic foil for the golden palette. Non-traditional styling impulses like top knots as hairstyles, flesh-coloured matte lipstick, a no makeup look contrasted with large noserings were fun but with more experimental use, they would have become a poignant juxtaposition to the glitzy clothes.

From Manish Malhotra’s 2014 couture collection ‘Portraits’.

While I agree with the designer when he says that his collections sell out no matter what fashion reviewers write or say, it is time for him to take risks of conceptual design and present shows without movie celebrities. Make clothes without stars in mind. He could stop meeting old expectations and create new ones.

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