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Manish Malhotra Q&A

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How did you come to work with the Lufthansa Wedding promotion?

“When I heard about it and they got in touch with me I was extremely interested because I think it’s an extremely popular airline, an extremely good airline and it represents a high quality, which my label represents as well. We are both luxury brands and I’ve been traveling Lufthansa for years. So, it’s two good brands coming together, which makes sense. I also thought it was really nice that an airline was reaching out to their Asian clients all over the world, and it would be a nice way for me to also connect with people all across the world. What’s amazing is that Lufthansa is a German-based airline, yet they have a lot of flights coming out of Germany to the South Asian market. As an airline they’re making an effort to successfully reach out to Asians.”

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How long have you been associated with the Lufthansa Wedding promotion?

“We’ve just started. I’ve sketched out 3 outfits for brides which I love doing and three complimentary shervanis because when there’s a beautiful bride there has to be a good bridegroom as well.  Gone are the days when they said bride looks most beautiful and the bridegroom looked his worst. That we are changing! We’ve got the sketches online and people can connect to it and vote for the best outfit, which is the one they like the most. So, all that people have to do is go online and see the sketches.”

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It’s great news for the couple who will be winning your designs!

I do a lot of costume designing for various movies and a lot of mainstream fashion for various stores. I do a lot of bridal wear as well, but sometimes it's difficult to really connect with people when faced with time restrictions, as a lot of time is needed to collaborate on a design. So I thought this would be a nice way for people who like my work to connect with me and choose which look they like the best.

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Can you tell us about the design, the colors, and the fabrics you've planned?

For me, it's all about Indian tradition presented in a new, contemporary way. I love the idea of a traditional jewel-tone palette with rich burgundy, wine, ruby red, emerald green, and royal blue. And yet, the whole styling is very contemporary. It's very western. This is reflected in my designs for various films which have popularized the "new" India all over the world.

I just love the idea of doing something really contemporary and mixing two worlds. I think it's very important for an Indian designer to take his tradition global–which involves color, embroidery, and the type of outfit. And that can only happen when you mix the two worlds, which is what I've done in these sketches for Lufthansa. There are a lot of rich colors and some exquisite embroidery with antique golds with silver bling. The dresses have a very ornate but modern feel. All my work is very inspired by tradition. It's taking our culture global. I don't want to keep it so traditional that people feel it's outdated. These dresses are for the young–Indian dresses in a very modern, contemporary style.

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New: You've been working in fashion for 19 years. How has fashion in Bollywood evolved over time?

Well it was a struggle starting out. There were only women designers and I was this guy that was just out of college. I am very passionate about design and painting and sketching, and I loved Indian movies so i thought to myself - the design movement is just starting, this was in about 1990, why not film, why not costumes? I love films, I love clothes, so why don't I make my mark there? So I introduced the element of styling, the element of one look to an actor and it was a five year struggle for producers to actually understand that a designer was asking for a script to review to style the film.

So it was a struggle, but then in 1995 received the first Filmfare Award award for the film Rangeela which basically changed the perception of costumes in film and from then to now i've been running, traveling, enjoying life!