Manish Malhotra started his career as a model, while studying at Elphinstone College in Mumbai. After a few modelling assignments he then joined Equinox, a boutique in Bandra, Mumbai. At Equinox Manish learnt, amongst other things, customer services, display, design and all aspects of the fashion industry.
Then at the age of 25, Manish Malhotra forayed into Bollywood when David Dhawan, gave Manish his first break to design for film stars when he designed three outfits for Movie actress, Juhi Chawla, for the movie Swarg. And one day after designing for the legendary actress Sridevi, orders for his designs began pouring in. This was the beginning of Manish`s long and successful career designing for big Bollywood stars and big Bollywood movies.
Manish Malhotra`s list of films includes several blockbusters since Rangeela, where Mass hysteria erupted when he transformed the then "plain" actress Urmila Matondkar and turned her into a raging sex symbol. He then won the first Filmfare Costume Award Awards for the Rangeela. He repeated the magic with Karishma Kapoor and changed her image through Raja Hindustani and bagged an award for the same. Then followed Dil to Pagal Hai and even an award from New York for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. He has also been graced with Indira Priyadarshini Memorial Award for his contribution to the fashion industry, felicitated by National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi and the Indo American Society for his contribution to fashion designing. He is named as the most Stylish Designer of the Year at the Elle Style Awards in 1999.
From Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Khamoshi, Hero No.1, Judaai, Hum Saath Saath Hai to Kaho Na Pyar Hai, Mast, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Satya, Dhadkan and Mohabbatein, he has been associated with nearly all of the decade`s most successful films.
His tenure as a costume-designer has seen him clothe most of the leading actresses in the film industry from Sridevi, Urmila Matondkar, Karishma Kapoor, Kajol, Raveena Tandon, Manisha Koirala, Madhuri Dixit, Twinkle Khanna, Shilpa Shetty, Kareena Kapoor, to Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta. Although he doesn`t design regularly for male actors, he has attired Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan on several occasions. Highlights of Manish`s career also include designs for Michael Jackson and also the fact that British super model Naomi Campbell, whilst in Mumbai, picked up a pair of his embroidered denims.
Manish`s style is strongly influenced by fusion wear and he favors pale, ice creamy neutrals, lilacs and lemons for hot, sultry summers adding chiffons. Manish greatly admires on the foreign fashion front, designers Georgio Armani and DKNY. His other favorites include Vivienne Westwood and Donatella Versace.
High on his success, Manish Malhotra decided to branch into mainstream designing in 1998 with his high-profile couture store Reverie - Manish Malhotra. The store was set up in association with industrialists Yash and Avati Birla, it received a tremendous response and the cream of Mumbai high society and rich non-resident Indians become his clients. His clientele featured socialites Tanya Godrej, Tina Ambani, Haseena Jethmalani, Rhea Pillai, as well as important members of the NRI community. He has done several wedding trousseaus for reputed families. However, problems with his partner ended with Manish walking out and Reverie closing down.
Malhotra`s first fashion show in November 1999 was eagerly awaited and his clothes received great appreciation and almost 70 percent of the clothes were sold out within three weeks. Malhotra created a coup of sorts by having Urmila Matondkar model the showstopper, an act followed by several designers for their shows later. A part of his collection was the embroidered denim wear that became a rage all over the city.
In May 2002 London`s departmental store, Selfridges did a Bollywood festival for the summer period and it here Manish was the only designer to also hold daily live fashion shows of his designs at the store which were very well received. The whole festival was highly successful and both gave Bollywood and Indian fashion a new prominence on the British cultural landscape. Even Vanity Fair magazine devoted a whole issue entitled a tribute to Bollywood.
Manish has managed to achieve that delicate balance between designing for film, as well as haute couture. Now with Sheetal Design Studio, Manish wants to conquer further horizons in the fashion industry, since orders for Manish`s clothes from London are already pouring. His future plans also include a prêt a porter line for women along with his couture label and also a couture & prêt line for men.
Theme of the Collection was ` FREEDOM`. Inspired from the soul-Iiberating philosophy of Sufism, Manish Malhotra`s collection celebrates the liberation of the modern woman from the oft-quoted tenets of fashion. The 45-odd garments in this collection represent not only liberation from what a modern woman is expected to wear but also celebrates the designer`s own freedom from what has been strongly associated with his label. Although play of colours has always been Manish Malhotra`s forte, the base fabric of the entire collection is white with just a touch of three individual colours -black, blue and gold in respective segments. The silhouettes too combine effectively traditional Indian thoughts with modern cuts thereby liberating the garments from being slotted into anyone category.