In 1998, Manish decided to venture into mainstream designing with his high-profile couture store 'Reverie - Manish Malhotra'. This move further consolidated Manish’s stature as one of the leading design voices in the country and saw his clientele move beyond the film industry to include discerning fashion-mavens across India and the Indian diaspora. Soon after, Manish received immense appreciation for his glamorous ensembles using traditional colours, craftsmanship, textures and embroideries and presented at his first runway show in November 1999.
Over the years, the label’s aesthetic has evolved to bring together traditional Indian fabrics and techniques with contemporary silhouettes. However, be it gowns with intricate gold embroidery, cigarette pants paired with sherwani jackets for women, voluminous lehengas worn with cropped blouses or the use of non-traditional colours like royal blue, soft pink, maroon etc. in bridal ensembles, the label’s design language continues to be unapologetically glamorous.
The design-story of the recent collections has been inspired by Manish’s consummate passion for reviving Indian craftsmanship. Manish has taken up the responsible initiative to promote regional handicrafts and workmanship from rural India. One such initiative is his association with the ‘Mijwan Welfare Society’– an NGO founded by Late Kaifi Azmi and headed by Shabana Azmi and Namrata Goyal. Manish has adopted the Kaifi Azmi Sewing and Embroidery Centre in Mijwan to help generate employment opportunities for women there.
His association goes back to 2010 when ‘Mijwan Sonnets in Fabric’ was unveiled for the first time. In 2015, he presented ‘Mijwan- The Legacy, a fashion show with senior and young members of Bollywood walking the ramp in his creations. ‘Chikankari by Mijwan Welfare Society’ is a dream project that Manish has nurtured, A craft that has been around for years is being brought into the limelight by giving it a characteristic "newness", reflecting Manish's signature contemporary design aesthetic.
The label’s collections has also been influenced by the intricate Kashmiri embroidery and more recently the use of handloom textiles and century old craft technique from Varanasi, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh which brings in a refreshing change for the modern consumer. In March 2017, the Philadelphia Museum of Art featured outfits from the Manish Malhotra 2013 couture collection – Thread of Emotion, in an on going retrospective spotlighting the Phulkari technique at their Joan Spain Gallery.
In 2005, he launched his couture label MANISH MALHOTRA. Today, Label MANISH MALHOTRA offers Bridal, Couture and Diffusion collections and currently retails at two stores in Mumbai and the Haveli store overlooking the magnificent Qutub Minar in New Delhi. The label also retails at multi-brand boutiques across India and in Dubai, with plans to open flagship stores in London and Dubai. The label also offers an extensive selection of impeccably cut and tailored ensembles for men and plans to soon unveil a section dedicated to menswear at the Delhi Haveli store.