For over three decades, Manish Malhotra has given Indian fashion some of its iconic sartorial moments. From creating Bollywood costumes whose designs defined an entire generation and dressing up leading ladies of Indian cinema, such as Sridevi, Alia Bhatt, Madhuri Dixit and Kareena Kapoor, both on and off the screen, to capturing the imagination of every bride-to-be with this ethereal bridal collections, he has done it all.

After consolidating his position in the fashion world, last December the designer diversified into make-up with the launch of Manish Malhotra Haute Couture Makeup. Now, he’s all set to bring his 46-product range of cosmetics to Dubai for their international debut tomorrow at DIVAlicious fashion exhibition.

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We talk to the designer about his foray into make-up, why he decided to collaborate with beauty brand MyGlamm, why he’s giving make-up the couture treatment and why he picked Alanna Panday as his make-up muse over other big names.

Has make-up always been something you wanted to diversify into?

Make-up is something that I have always been interested and worked simultaneously with fashion — whether I’m styling movie, preparing for a fashion shows or discussing entire bridal looks with families of my clients for weddings. In fact, I make lots of mood boards for make-up when I am putting up a fashion show or doing photoshoots for my collections. After 14 years of having my own fashion label and 29 years of working in the movies, I thought it’s time that I created a make-up collection.

Can make-up make or break a look?

The role of make-up is something I’ve always discussed with the actresses I’ve worked with. I have always believed an outfit or look can be ruined if the make-up doesn’t complement it. For example, if you’re wearing a really bright, over-the-top outfit covered with heavy embroidery, or a lot of jewellery, go for subtle make-up. But if you are wearing something simpler, go all out with your make-up, highlighting either the eyes or [opting for] a deep lip colour.

Indian actress Rekha’s iconic red lipstick was an inspiration for the brand's signature lipstick shade
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Who are some Bollywood and Hollywood celebrities who make for great make-up inspirations?

My entire make-up collection has been inspired by both — actresses I have worked with as well as others. Those who have inspired me include Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Asha Parikh, Sharmila Tagore, Rekha and Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana. These women made an impact not only with their style but also with how they applied their make-up. Rekha’s iconic red lipstick was my inspiration for my signature lipstick shade called Ruby Runway.

What has been the response to the collection from the film industry?

It’s been absolutely fantastic. My friends from the industry have really loved the collection. In fact, three shades from the collection sold out within the first month.

Why did you choose Alanna Panday to be the face of your collection instead of the other leading actresses you’ve worked with over the years?

I think my make-up collection is very young. I wanted someone who is not yet an actor but is interesting and a star in her own right to become the face of the brand. Alanna is unconventional, pretty and a confident millennial who enjoys wearing make-up. So I felt she fits in with the ethos of collection.

Does the collection target a young clientele?

Age isn’t a barrier with this collection. It’s for women who are confident and do not fear being themselves.

According to you, what is the role of make-up in everyday life?

For me, it’s important to hear that when you wore my make-up you felt good. That’s what makes my product a winner for me and that’s [the kind of feedback] that I live for. At the end of the day, it’s about making women feel beautiful, because when you feel beautiful, your face and eyes sparkle without any make-up.

The 9-in-1 Eyeshadow Palette in Soiree is full of earthy mattes, copper foil and metallic nudes
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Is the Haute Couture collection perfect for someone who enjoys being glamorous or does it also cater to everyday looks?

I don’t design casual everyday clothes, so make-up is my way of giving women couture for every day of the week and every occasion. Even if you’re wearing something simple, make-up can dress you up. It’s why the colours in the collection cater to both bold make-up looks as well as softer shades. The 9-in-1 Eyeshadow Palette in Soiree is full of earthy mattes, copper foil and metallic nudes; the Hi-Shine Lipsticks have a range of warm and cool nudes, and soft pinks, in addition to bolder reds and wine shades.

What leading beauty trends did you take inspiration from while creating the collection?

I was inspired by some of the reigning A/W 2018 runway trends — glitter, pearls and high-shine metallics which are all huge this season have made their way in the collection’s foil finish eye shadows, glittery colour changing lip polishes and metallic finish nail paints.

What made you decide to choose DIVAlicious Dubai for the collection’s first international outing?

Dubai has been like a second home for me. I have so many friends here and I love the place. Make-up is like second skin to the women here, hence I couldn’t think of a better place to have had our first international outing than at DIVAlicious Dubai.

Since Dubai is a cosmopolitan city, are the shades in the range versatile enough to suit all skin tones?

Yes, definitely. All products are designed to flatter all skin tones. For instance, the Ruby Runway Hi-shine Lipstick — one of my absolute favourites — is a classic red shade that looks gorgeous on fair, tan or dusky skin tones.

How much of your creative input has influenced the design and packaging?

I wanted the packaging to allow the make-up shades to stand out, which is why I chose black and rose gold. I like the idea of rose gold — it felt new, and black exudes the sleek glamour and sensuality that I want my makeup to have. It’s classic and timeless but also luxurious.

The Manish considers the lip-gloss collection one of the most innovative in his product line
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What are your favourite products in the collection?

The two most innovative and my personal favourite products in the line are the foil eyeshadows and the lip glosses — they are hi-shine, uber glossy and make a statement. I especially enjoyed creating the foil — to me the finish feels almost like metallic fabric and it’s such a strong style statement, especially if you don’t like a lot of glitter in your make-up. The lip glosses are saturated with polychromatic glitter particles that make the gloss change shades depending on how which angle the light hits it from.

Was it a conscious move to launch a collection that taps into growing demand for cruelty-free and sustainable make-up?

I’ve always believed in 100 per cent cruelty-free products. The collaboration with MyGlamm came about because the brand’s personality reflects mine — we’re both about effortless, unapologetic glamour, and just like me, they also believe in high-quality, 100 per cent cruelty-free products.