"I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some incredibly strong individuals — many of them women."
Designer icon for Bollywood, Manish Malhotra launched his special ‘Blue Runway’ collection at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015 in Mumbai on March 18.
Dubbed a ‘show with a cause’, the ‘Blue Runway’ collection is a partnered effort with the WEvolve campaign and World Bank, which aims to challenge Indian social taboos, including gender based violence.
The runway was littered with a summery collection of soft blue hues matched with rose-pink and yellow and delicate floral prints.
Women donned flowy floor length gowns, jacket saris and off the shoulder crop tops. Men wore structured long shirts and kurtas with impeccably tailored bandh-gala jackets.
Manish also experimented with 3D style embroidery using florals and mirror work, and for the grand finale, the models held placards that read ‘Gender’, ‘Equality’, ‘Society’, ‘Empower’ and ‘Justice’.
The collection was easy and youthful, aimed towards a modern and liberal India and the newer generations who will carry the nation forward.
Malhotra believes that the universal language of fashion crosses all borders and boundaries. That is why it is the perfect platform in which to promote key social issues that are effecting men and women across the world:
“In the span of my career, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some incredibly strong individuals — many of them women.
“It is unfortunate that a section of society takes femininity as a sign of weakness. I strongly believe that foundationally strong education and value systems, are the only way to eradicate this notion.”
“By creating The Blue Runway Collection and talking about the inspiration behind it, I hope to give the cause a voice,” Malhotra said.
Also supporting the cause alongside Manish was Hollywood star, Rosario Dawson (best known for Sin City). The actress stunned in a crop top in midnight blue and a rose-pink lehenga skirt.
Bollywood actresses also lent their support for the fashion designer by gracing the front row of the show, in beautiful outfits from Malhotra’s collection. They included Deepika Padukone, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shabana Azmi, Sridevi, Kajol, Huma Qureshi, Neha Dhupia, and Richa Chadda.
Manish also arranged a special off-site show which sees the talented man dabble in home décor and interior design. Labelled the ‘Great Eastern Home’, the exhibit featured unique pieces of bespoke furniture from across the world.
The 15th anniversary of Lakmé Fashion Week also marks Manish’s 25 year long career. Speaking about the evolution of Indian fashion over the last few decades, Malhotra said:
“With the advent of Lakmé Fashion Week 15 years ago, I think we have taken giant strides in moulding Indian fashion into a more organised unit with an international outlook.”
With the Summer/Resort collections at Lakmé keenly experimenting with western fabrics and styles with an added Indian touch and finesse, the designer said that Indian fashion was taking clear strides towards becoming universally appealing:
“It needs the perfect balance of relevance, creativity and business acumen to go international. This is valid for Indian labels going abroad and vice-versa.
“Having said that, I do believe that there is a demand for contemporary Indian fashion in the West. The fascination with our range of colours and the sensuality of our cuts and silhouettes makes it very exciting to design for the international style-enthusiast.”
The designer has been an integral part of the development of Indian fashion, and Manish Malhotra is now recognised the world over having dressed the likes of Kajol, Karisma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Preity Zinta, and Deepika Padukone.