From Bollywood’s biggest stars — including Vogue Arabia cover star Rekha, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sridevi and Kareena Kapoor Khan — to international favorites like Jennifer Aniston and Naomi Campbell, Manish Malhotra has dressed them all. And now, the iconic Indian couturier is bringing his incredible designs to the UAE with his very first global flagship store, opening today at Dubai Mall.
Located on the top floor of Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue, the brand new Manish Malhotra store glistens under sparkling chandeliers, and welcomes you in with its pristine marble interiors, beautifully engraved pillars, and fragrant blooms. “I wanted it to feel like my own home,” the star designer tells Vogue Arabia on the morning of December 10, right before he opens the doors of his new haven to the world. “That’s why the mogra, which I always have at my Mumbai residence.” He’s right. You can’t help but feel enveloped in his aesthetic the second you step in.
Sitting alongside some of the biggest fashion houses in the world, from Tom Ford to Valentino, Manish Malhotra’s sprawling Dubai Mall store doesn’t just mark a milestone for him — he is, after all, officially the first Indian designer to have a store in Fashion Avenue — but also for Indian fashion, proving its appeal and desirability in the Middle East. Luxuriously stretching over 5,000 square feet, the space serves as a bridge between cultures, connecting the age-old charm of Indian haute couture with the Middle East’s love for all things lavish.
Here, visitors will find a slice from every chapter of Manish Malhotra’s journey. Intricately embroidered chikankari treasures crafted by the women of Mijwan sit proudly alongside artisanal threadwork pieces from Kashmir, unique zardozi keepsakes, and of course, glamorous sequined ensembles that have now become synonymous with his name. While sparkling lehengas and shimmering Bollywood-esque saris are bound to catch the eye of Indian brides, iridescent gowns promise to make winning choices for party-goers in the region this season.
Beyond the couture, what really gives the new space that trademark MM touch are the finer details, which come together to create a palace-like feel by blending tradition with modernity. For his very first Dubai store, Malhotra decided to take a leaf from 17th century India, adorning the flagship with bespoke crests, customized furniture featuring the fashion house’s logo, and soothing shades of ivory, silver and gray. Limited edition books dot the seating spaces, baroque mirrors add layers of opulence, and a beautiful selection of framed photographs featuring Bollywood royalty decked out in Malhotra’s designs share a glimpse at his incredible work over the years. Look closely and you’ll even spot a dreamy snapshot of Rekha draped in MM for the cover shoot of Vogue Arabia’s July/August 2022 issue.
Along with one-of-a-kind ensembles, the flagship is also home to a private high jewelry room where guests can discover Malhotra’s line of diamond, emerald and ruby sets, and a VIP room for one-on-one meetings. Taking in his surroundings while giving Vogue Arabia a first look, he says, “I have a lot of mixed feelings right now. I’m emotional, nervous, happy… It’s been a lot of work, I so wanted to be here as a part of the Indian fashion fraternity and today the store stands here for all the weavers, all the artisans of India, embroiderers, all the designers — young, established, all of us together. It’s a [big] Indian fashion moment here in Dubai Mall.”