Long known as a favorite of Bollywood stars, Malhotra went for grandeur with a collection called “The Empress Story.” Although the silhouettes were decidedly Western, reminiscent of royalty, they were elaborately embroidered with colors ranging from coffee brown to rose, pinks, metallic and burgundy.
His men’s collection was also eye-catching, with structured coats that had a flare of bold embroidery and his initial foray into men’s footwear, which added even more flourish.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, the actress and former Miss World, ended a five-year hiatus from the runway, appearing in Malhohtra’s his final outfit in burgundy and gold.
“This is a special collection as it not only ends the beautiful decade that was, but also represents the beginning of a new phase for the brand,” Malhotra said of his collection, marking 10 years as a fashion designer. He has a longer history with film, having spent 25 years as a costume designer.
The five-day event, which ran from July 29 through Sunday, was sponsored by Amazon India for the first time. While there were complaints about repetitiveness and a lack of innovation, there was plenty for customers to buy for both the red carpet and the extravagant Indian wedding market. Motifs of flowers and birds were recurrent, all in intricate embroidery.
Sunday was particularly opulent, not just with Malhotra’s finale, but also the extravagance of designer Manav Gangwani’s collection in the afternoon at the Taj Palace hotel. Gangwani appeared to have taken the color challenge — with tone-on-tone embroidery adding elegance — particularly in his selection of colors ranging from aquas to deep purples. He focused on gowns for the red carpet.
Actress Kangna Ranaut closed his show, wearing a maroon sequined outfit and exiting in a grand limo.
Royal opulence was key in many of the collections, including Rimple and Harpreet Narula with dramatic capes, robes, cloaks and jackets, and Reynu Tandon’s journey tracing the origins of the Mughal Empire through her Persia-influenced collection. Flowers showed up in different formats.
“My collection and theme for the show used an innovative play of color, texturing and handcrafted surface ornamentation, heavily influenced by the French floral clusters of intertwined flowers. The beauty of these intricate floral clusters is reminiscent of a magical land of florid beauty,” said Varun Bahl, who showed Friday.
Layering was an ongoing trend, and designer Gaurav Gupta showed it off best. The focus on embroidery added interest in almost all the collections, including Rahul Mishra’s collection “Tree of Life.” Mishra won the Woolmark Prize in 2014 and has been retailing across the world.