Mumbai, INDIA – A star-studded show kicked off Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai last night (August 24) with Etihad Airways presenting the celebrated Indian designer Manish Malhotra at the unveiling of his winter festive collection.
Famed for his lavish Bollywood costume designs, Malhotra’s stunning show featuring 75 models was attended by more than 400 guests who experienced an innovative adaptation of a traditional opening, ‘Etihad Airways Presents Manish Malhotra’, a showcase shot completely in virtual reality (VR) – a first for an Indian designer. Etihad Airways’ signature boarding music featured in the finale of the show held in the courtyard of the ITC Grand Central hotel.
It comes just months after Etihad Airways used the pioneering VR technology to give viewers unprecedented access to the airline’s award-winning Airbus A380 by immersing them in the aircraft cabins in a virtual reality film ‘Reimagine’ featuring Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman.
Bollywood movie stars Shraddha Kapoor and Sushant Singh Rajput walked the ramp at last night’s show wearing stunning outfits designed by Malhotra. Guests included actresses Shilpa Shetty, Dia Mirza and Sushmita Sen from India’s film capital, together with corporate executives and fashion media.
The collaboration with the celebrity designer is the latest initiative by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways following its recently-announced sponsorship programme to become the fashion industry’s preferred airline. Earlier this year, Etihad Airways struck a comprehensive global agreement with WME | IMG as a long-term partner of the fashion industry, connecting the airline with the fashion capitals of the world.
Mumbai is the latest stop in Etihad Airways’ global fashion sponsorship, supporting 17 fashion week events worldwide every year. It follows on from the airline’s recent participation at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. Shows in London, Milan and New York follow next month.
Etihad Airways’ positioning as a premium lifestyle airline is reflected by its innovative and stylish designs in product and service offering onboard its luxurious aircraft. The carrier’s award-winning Airbus A380s, currently serving Mumbai, London, Melbourne and New York from its Abu Dhabi hub, features The Residence, an iconic three-room suite in the air – a perfect fit for high flyers from the fashion industry.
Speaking on the opening day of Lakmé Fashion Week, Neerja Bhatia, Etihad Airways Vice President Indian subcontinent, said: “Lakmé Fashion Week is very exciting for us in India, as it has marked another step in Etihad Airways’ efforts to enhance its positioning as the global airline for the fashion industry and further elevate Mumbai on the international fashion calendar. Working with Manish Malhotra has also been a fantastic experience showcasing the best of his latest collection proudly presented by Etihad Airways.”
The influence of fashion spans a huge audience, from mass fashion consumers to the global fashion elite of designers, models, photographers and editors – all of whom Etihad Airways aims to convert into loyal customers.
Manish Malhotra said: “Lakmé Fashion Week is very special to me, as both my label and my association with the event turn 11 years old this year. Such an incredible milestone deserves to be celebrated in a truly unique manner, both with a fantastic partnership with Etihad Airways – and a first for the industry with a fashion show shot in virtual reality – two things I am very proud of.”
Malhotra’s new collection, which spotlights Indian craftsmanship combined with modern silhouettes, highlighted the designer’s signature embroidery work featuring textured colours.