The Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star ended on a fashionable note with a session on ‘Fashion in Film’. Famous French shoe and bag designer Christian Louboutin and popular international designer Prabal Gurung were accompanied by actor Katrina Kaif for the session moderated by filmmaker Karan Johar.

Fashion has always been an integral part of cinema and the panel further explored the nuances of what goes into creating this fashion. They spoke about their starting points, their inspiration and how cinema has brought all of them together.

 (L-R) Christian Louboutin, Karan Johar, Katrina Kaif and Prabal Gurung

(L-R) Christian Louboutin, Karan Johar, Katrina Kaif and Prabal Gurung

Christian Louboutin

When was your first brush with Indian cinema and do you have a favorite Indian movie?

I was born and raised in Paris and when I was 13 or 14-years-old, I went to the theater near my house which used to play Indian and Egyptian films. The Indian posters would fascinate me and one day, I went in to watch a film. I went for a film called Aan and fell in love with it.

In another instance, I went to see a film called Devi and the director of the film, Satyajit Ray, was present in the theater. I had no idea what to expect and then I saw this fantastic film. After the film I got a chance to meet the director. Devi is one of my favorite movies of all time and meeting the director was one of the biggest moments in my life.

What was your inspiration behind becoming a designer, how did it all start for you?

There was a museum close to the theater, which has this poster at its entrance. It was a sketch of a high heel stiletto with a big cross mark in red. I started sketching those heels and I think that is where it started for me.

Once, when I was watching Hitchcock’s Vertigo, I noticed that the actress was wearing the exact same shoes! That made me realize that everything can start from a drawing and eventually become a reality. So, my journey with shoes started with a drawing.

Prabal Gurung

In what way have films or Bollywood influenced you?

As a child, when I watched Bollywood films, I used to believe that when I fall in love, a song would start playing magically and there would backup dancers. Or, if I was heartbroken then a really sad orchestra would start to play. Now, when I look back at that time, I realize that Bollywood allowed me to dream, that impossible and ridiculous dream, and soar high in life.

There is a stereotype that fashionable people lack intelligence, how do you deal with such statements?

Since I am from the fashion industry, I know that fashion and intelligence need not be mutually exclusive. You look at Cate Blanchett who is an incredible actor and is also someone who has an exquisite fashion taste. When you look at the Indian film industry, you can see how fashion and intelligence have merged. I have watched movies by Yash Raj Films or Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films and they are all so beautiful. So, you need to be intelligent and have that sensibility to understand and adapt fashion.

Karan Johar

Fashion is a big part of your films and since the start Manish Malhotra has been an integral part of your films. What is the reason behind your long-standing association?

Manish Malhotra has an inherent obsession with cinema; he loves watching movies and it was something that we connected over. That passion never got diluted over the years. When it comes to fashion, he is like an excited child about every garment that he gives you. He is a relevant voice in mainstream fashion who has always upped his game. Sometimes, I look at him with awe because after doing the same thing for such a long time – he has worked in over 800 movies – his level of excitement for each movie continues to be the same. That is a message to everyone that passion is the one thing that you don’t compromise on.

Fashion is a massive indulgence for me. Every garment that my actors have worn has always been special to me, and in fact I relish them. Every filmmaker has his or her queer and for me it is costuming for my film.

Katrina Kaif

There is a lot of attention given to the way you dress for a red carpet event, is it the same when you are working in a film?

There is a lot of importance that is given to dressing up for movie events and red carpets. You are given numerous options but unfortunately, that is not the case during filming a movie. I think some of that importance should be given to the clothes you wear in the film. Even if it’s something simple, you have to dress according to your character.