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‘Every time I hear athleisure is a new trend, I roll my eyes’: Manish Malhotra gets nostalgic about 90s designs

The designer had won his first Filmfare award as a ‘Costume Designer’ for the movie Rangeela (1995)

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
April 8, 2021 1:20:00 pm
Manish Malhotra, Manish Malhotra designs, Manish Malhotra Bollywood designs, Manish Malhotra 90s fashion, Manish Malhotra news, Manish Malhotra inyterview, Manish Malhotra films, Rangeela, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, indian express newsMalhotra has designed some game-changing outfits in many films, some of which continue to be in vogue today. (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

Designer Manish Malhotra has been in the industry for many years now, having dressed the best of Bollywood in films, fashion shows and on red carpets. In one of his recent interviews, however, the 54-year-old opened up about his journey, and talked about the inspiration behind some of his iconic, and most famous Bollywood screen looks, especially in films like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), and Rangeela (1995).

“The movie Rangeela was my turning point,” the designer told Popsugar, during an interaction. “That was in 1995. The director, Ram Gopal Verma, was clear with his brief, and actress Urmila Matondkar was also all set to prove herself [in Bollywood]. There was a powerful creative energy, and we created something completely new by including crop tops, dungarees, t-shirts, and jeans into the mix. It was a completely new fresh palette that caught the eyes of all millennials and ended up going viral. I won my first Filmfare award as a ‘Costume Designer’ for the movie.”

Rangeela, fashion, Manish Malhotra, indian express news A still from the 1995 film Rangeela (Express archive photo)

From there, Malhotra moved on to design more game-changing outfits in some other films, which became a vogue at that time. He introduced athleisure on the big screen in Dil To Pagal Hai and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. “Every time I hear that athleisure is a new trend, I roll my eyes in surprise. From track pants to crop tops, singlets and bralets, we did it all and the response was deeply encouraging,” he was quoted as saying.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, fashion, Manish Malhotra, indian express news The poster for the 1998 film Kuch Kiuch Hota Hai

Some of his best, and iconic looks

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The designer shared with Popsugar on how he created Kajol’s wedding outfit in the movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, stating that “Kajol and Karan were visiting” him to “discuss the costumes”. “So, I already went shopping and brought this amazing peach color fabric.”

“Back in those days, peach used to be my favorite colour, and the material I chose was a tone-on-tone embossed fabric. I sketched out something before they came. I knew that Kajol had already worn a golden lehenga in DDLJ, so I wanted to do something different – maybe a saree with a head drape on it. Kajol and Karan both liked the colour, and I got so excited that I immediately started draping it. This was the first time peach was used on-screen as a wedding colour, and I remember it really became the ‘it’ colour for all the weddings after the movie was released,” he said.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, fashion, Manish Malhotra, indian express news The peach lehenga that Manish Malhotra had designed for Kajol in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. (Express archive photo)

Kareena Kapoor’s outfit in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) was also ahead of its time. Malhotra said it is still in fashion today. “It’s a contemporary outfit and will always be. We paired it with a small teeka and loose hair to complete the look in our own way. Her outfit was born out of tradition but aged in modernity. At that time, NRI culture used to really astound me. The millennials were really torn between their environment and family values, which were completely different from the world they were living in. I wanted to show this paradox.

“Her look was modern/western, but the essence was Indian, and the result was that it resonated so well with girls across the country and worldwide.”

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