What goes into the making of a red carpet wardrobe? Instep speaks to Maneka Harisinghani, the stylist behind Mahira Khan’s winning looks at the Lux Style Awards and the Vogue Beauty Awards
If you have been following the LSA 2016 updates that have flooded the social media then you must have noticed the beautiful gown that Mahira Khan was wearing that night. She looked like a princess straight form a fairy tale. Her fashion choices for the last two events have become talk of the town, both in India and Pakistan. So we at Instep thought to get in touch with the girl behind those million dollar looks, Maneka Harisinghani – Mahira Khan’s stylist in India – who is one of the best in the business and does styling for fashion icons like Malaika Arora Khan.
Instep: How was your experience of working with Mahira Khan?
Maneka Harisinghani: Mahira is a stylist’s delight. She has this old world charm that is very enchanting and inspiring. I liked that she is very rooted yet open to new ideas. She is every inch a glamazon but so real. And well, who does not love Mahira Khan. I surely am a fan – girl.
Instep: So how did the two of you come together?
MH: Can we say good luck! Apologies, I am discreet.
Instep: Have you watched any of her plays? How did you get to know about her?
MH: Well, I don’t know if I should even say this but my satellite network has had a dedicated channel for these dramas years before Zindagi made it mainstream. Don’t ask me if it’s legal!!! A lazy Sunday afternoon with my mother, after much resistance, I sat back to watch a show and if memory serves me right, it was Humsafar!! Since then I have done a couple of weekend marathons. I have seen most of Mahira’s work. I always took her very seriously as an artist. She has genius, power, magic and a beautiful mind to match that.
Instep: What look did you have in mind for Mahira for the 15th Lux Style Awards?
MH: My approach is very minimalistic when it comes to styling. Maybe one wouldn’t quite understand that fact going by the look at Lux Awards. Minimalism to me is not keeping it bare but it’s about striking the right balance. This could have been an overbearing look; the key was finding harmony and balance within that.
Instep: How much planning went into deciding Mahira’s gorgeous look for the 15th Lux Style Awards?
MH: I am a research person and believe in a cultural exchange of ideas. As a stylist I think it is imperative to introduce my clients to diverse possibilities. It took me, say, like a month to discover this exceptional upcoming designer in Egypt, Shahira Lasheen and then may be another month to figure logistics to fly down the gown. Don’t even get me started on the back office nightmares on this import. This enormous beauty did keep me up for many, many nights.
Instep: Her green gown at the recent Vogue Beauty Awards in India was also a commendable choice. Tell us something about that.
MH: I was aware that this event was technically Mahira’s first appearance in India. ‘Simple yet Significant’ was the charter. The look had to interpret her personality. Her innate elegance had to shine through and that wouldn’t have been possible with any kind of over-crowding. We went de cluttered, classic and fuss free and I think that worked as we just let Mahira’s gorgeousness do all the talking.
Instep: What do you like most about Pakistani fashion?
MH: I am exceptionally fond of the Balochistani/tribal workmanship from Pakistan. I also think that the classic shalwar kameez on men is a really good look. Everyone should all do more of that.
Instep: Besides Mahira would there be any other artists (from Pakistan) that you would be interested in styling?
MH: Well I would love to visit someday, please do invite me over.
Sadiq Saleem, is a Dubai based entertainment journalist. He is also an
Instep correspondent and can be contacted on his page fb/sidsaidso.