When it comes to the luxury industry, we’re always looking for interesting collaborations. In the space of fashion, design, architecture, hospitality and even home décor, there are so many overlapping influences that it’s always interesting to see how industry leaders step out of their comfort zones and create something new.
A case in point is Manish Malhotra’s recent foray into luxury interiors. In collaboration with bathroom experts, Hindware, the designer to the stars recently unveiled a range of high-end bathroom suites. The collection, aptly named Alchymi features a range of bathroom “suites” featuring Hindware’s innovative Sensology technology.
To understand this luxurious collaboration, I caught up with the designer at Hindware’s luxury experiential space Lacasa in Vile Parle, Mumbai. As Manish and I sit in the middle of the Lacasa space, we’re surrounded by a bunch of exquisite mock-up bathroom settings, straight out of a plush dream home. Before I proceed to ask the designer anything, he explains, “My bathrooms at home are exactly like this – big, all-white, stark and minimalist with huge mirrors. When the guys at Hindware presented the idea of Alchymi to me, I was thrilled because it’s exactly like my bathroom at home. So this collaboration feels good.”
Why, then, did the designer opt for luxury bathrooms and not any other aspect of home décor?
“For me, bathrooms are a thinking space. Often, during a discussion, my assistants will ask me what I think and I reply that I will come back in two minutes. I go the bathroom, possibly to gather my thoughts and relax for two minutes.”
As the designer, commonly referred to as the couturier to the stars, enters this new space of luxury interiors, he is all set to reach out to a new client base and perhaps rethink his positioning in the market as solely a designer. “I have been doing movies for 27 years and my label for 12 years. Now it is time for me to reach out different mediums. I want to target a whole new chunk of people in different segments. I want to adapt. It is all part of the new direction in my career.”
A decision that will, of course, be highlighted by the designer’s strong presence on social media, putting him in the space of a “mega” influencer.
As with any collaboration between industry leaders, the question comes up about a brand match, without being a forced marketing plug, to which Manish responds, “It is very important for me to connect with a brand that I am collaborating with. We must think alike. Being a designer, there has to be a belief and a purpose, else it would look forced.”
How, then, did this belief and conviction for creating marvellous clothes translate into Alchymi’s gorgeous bathroom suites? “I identified with it at a personal level. On a regular day, at work, I am surrounded by sequins, colour and embellishment all day. When I go home, I like it to be free of clutter and stark. I want that break. And this is reflected in these bathroom suites,” says the designer who plans to venture further into home décor, “not furniture, but things that make your home look prettier”.
In conclusion, the designer highlights a very important point about creative collaborations and how important they are for creative businesses these days, “Any collaboration is important for expansion. Take Bollywood producers, for example. A few years ago, they didn’t really collaborate. Today, even five producers can make a film together. It’s all about thinking out of the box.”
In conversation with Riaan George