Manish Malhotra at LFW: “Piya” comes to Famous Studios with Love & Care

Manish Malhotra at LFW: “Piya” comes to Famous Studios with Love & Care

The opening show of Lakmé Fashion Week’s Winter Festive 2019 edition underlined the growing dominance of collaborative marketing

Fashion critics will soon go out of fashion. Else, they may be compelled to learn how to analyze cross and collaborative marketing of fashion and fashion-related consumer products more than well, designer clothes.

There are other ways to start this “review”. Here is option 2: An online consumer survey conducted by Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) to zero down to India’s most popular fashion designer found Manish Malhotra riding the surf and leading the search results. He emerged the undisputed No.1. This survey was undertaken to find the right brand ambassador for Love & Care, a premium fabric wash brand.

The liquid detergent—that could diminish your drycleaner woes and claims to be a boon that could help care for growing fashion wardrobes—was “born on the runway” at Malhotra’s opening show for Lakme Fashion Week (LFW)’s Winter Festive 2019 edition at Famous Studios in Mumbai on 20 August.

In other words, the show was sponsored by Love & Care, the quality and nature of which was also arrived at through a survey of more than 600 young fashion consumers, designers, textile experts and trend forecasters.

The pre-show cocktails at Malhotra’s outing for LFW amply underlined what “cross” or “collaborative” marketing means today in Indian fashion. And how such possibilities could be explored and magnified. There was the detergent itself, its sturdy, patterned, 950 ml bottles for three varieties of fabrics—silk, cotton and woollens—displayed prominently through blown up photographs. This was the celebratory opening evening of a fashion event that attracts attention and eyeballs from consumers, spectators and media. There were high profile guests from film and fashion. And then there was Malhotra himself who managed to shine above all else.



Photo: Sujit Jaiswal / AFP

Models present creations by designer Manish Malhotra at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Winter Festive 2019 in Mumbai.

The way the designer has evolved to become bigger than the fashion he creates is a case study that cannot be shrugged away. This then, is my favourite opening line of a review that has already washed down three paragraphs.

The collection named “Mahrumyshaa” began with a capsule of white couture garments, with Sufi poet Amir Khusro’s ponderous ghazal Chhap Tilak Sab Chheeni Re Mose Naina Milaike. It ended with Mera Piya Ghar Aaya, another Sufi poet Bulleh Shah’s lilting lyrics complementing a black capsule of finery. Bridal but not crazily so, couture but not hair-raisingly so, embellished with sequins, shimmer, gusto and unabashed love for glitter and gloss, even when some were grey in colour. Between black and white, between chhap tilak and piya ghar aaya were velvets, silks, fluid fabrics in deep maroons, plum, emerald, berry and silver-cement grey. There were lehngas, gowns, shimmery saris, long kurta sets, flowy skirts, crop tops, men’s bandhgalas, seductive cholis flashing back movies with costumes designed by Malhotra. Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif, tall, svelte, glowing and fit in a deep emerald (so deep, so emerald that it looked black) velvet, embellished lehnga with a slinky choli and no dupatta, was the showstopper. Malhotra’s signature way of designing keeping Bollywood in mind was evident. The rest of the country wants to wear what stars do anyway, so the route or marketing, let’s say is clear, quick and fruitful.


Models at the opening show of LFW Winter Festive 2019 with designer Manish Malhotra X Love & Care.

But that’s not the point. The spark that lights up Malhotra’s eyes when he poses with Karan Johar, Karishma Kapoor, Amrita Arora or any of his film and fashion friends is what makes his shows pleasant, even endearing. Perhaps he realizes he is as sought after (sometimes more) in fashion than some of his celeb cat-walkers. Perhaps he doesn’t. But curiously enough, this man is the “piya”, the proverbial lover that the crowd claps for. People may or may not love his clothes, but they love him alright and that’s also why they want his clothes.

Today, a day later on 21 August as he trooped out of LFW’s GenNext show that extends a debut platform to fashion designers of future, Malhotra was surrounded by a swarm of fashion students and aspirants all wanting him to smile for selfies. He smiled tirelessly and obliged everyone with Love & Care.

Banner: Designer Manish Malhotra with his show stopper actor Katrina Kaif at LFW Winter Festive 2019 in Mumbai.
Photo Courtesy: Sujit Jaiswal/ AFP