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One hour and 21 minutes behind schedule, nearly 16 Bollywood stars in attendance, 50 garments showcased on ramp, another seven on the backs of the actresses he dressed, two celebrity showstoppers and scores of frantic flashbulbs — Manish Malhotra’s Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Winter/Festive 2014 finale had all the makings of a grand film premiere. For a designer who frequently tries to shrug off the filmy tag, Malhotra’s show, held on Sunday night at Mumbai’s Palladium Hotel served as a reinforcement of that connection.
From the swagger of the leading man — Varun Dhawan wearing a tapered grey jacket with black jodhpurs — and a charming bevy of models displaying Malhotra’s Lakme ‘Gloss’ inspired line, to dazzling diva Kareena Kapoor Khan rounding up the proceedings, the finale could very well have been scripted by filmmaker Karan Johar, perched on the front row.
With Malhotra having dressed glamorous attendees Kajol, Priyanka Chopra, Karisma Kapur, Juhi Chawla, Esha Gupta, Aditi Rao Hydari and Richa Chadda, fashion watchers were privy to a pre-show trailer of collections, past and present.
The show was an amalgam of Malhotra’s trademark touches like kalidars, plunging backs, diaphanous net and tulle lehengas and drapes, along with a hint of the new in the form of geometric and striped sequin and bugle bead embroidery, shimmering mirror-work, textured silks and our favourite — touches of tie-dye for both men and women. The colour story was set by the opening garment itself, with Lakshmi Rana’s burgundy silk and velvet lehenga with a long train. It went on to build with rich wines and maroons and eventually unwinded with purples, tobaccos, dirty pinks and greys.
Only once we sifted through the high octane shimmer of sequins and mirrors, and waded through the trailing yards of silk, net, tulle, chiffon and velvet, did we realise that more than the drama and shine, we appreciated the simple touches of Malhotra’s gloss-inspired assemblage. The seen-one-seen-them-all stupor that generally pervades Malhotra’s shows, was periodically punctuated by things like the pretty flowers festooned in the models’ hair, the net overlays on mirror-work spangled under-skirts, the unadorned tie-dye lehengas for the ladies and ombre bandhgala vests and jackets for men.
Malhotra’s menswear took the understated route, much like the tie-dye vest the designer himself sported when he took a curtain call with muse and friend Kapoor Khan and Dhawan. We hope to see more of the restrained side of Malhotra in some of the umpteen collections he will, no doubt, be rolling out before the year ends. There’s no denying that Malhotra makes pretty brides, but looks like this one’s going to be very late to her own cocktail party.