It was a show with a difference as ace fashion designer Manish Malhotra took a digital leap on the opening day of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Winter/Festive 2016 with Bollywood’s young faces — Shraddha Kapoor and Sushant Singh Rajput — walking for him.

Malhotra took the digital route for the show on Wednesday here in association with Etihad Airways. Malhotra unveiled festive glamour collection at the LFW runway, that began at St. Regis Hotel. However, the designer’s offsite show at ITC Grand Central was no less of a treat.

What was unique about the Malhotra’s show this time was that it will premiere as a Virtual Reality experience after the fashion gala. So, the LFW ramp got a glimpse of the virtual aspect in a very sparkling way.

The fashion house showcased its signature resham threadwork, clustered sequins and intricate hand-embroidery on dramatic trails and off-shoulder capes, alongside floral motifs.

There were jacket-saris; lehengas paired with sheer crop blouses and draped dupattas on contemporary anarkalis. Elaborately detailed long tunics worn over cigarette pants and flowing backless gowns effortlessly brought the classic and contemporary style together.

On other aspects of the event, there was some dissatisfaction over the seating arrangement as those sitting at the back were heard complaining about not getting a proper view, but fashion enthusiasts who saw the entire range were left mesmerised with the designer’s creativity.

The designer infused extra glamour quotient on the ramp with Sushant and Shraddha, especially the former, who was glad to walk for Malhotra.

“I was excited and nervous at the same time, but who doesn’t want to walk for Manish Malhotra, and I did it. I have four sisters and all are fans of his; including me, so, today I am standing here with his clothes on. Life can’t be better than this,” Sushant told reporters after show.

For Shraddha, it was a dream come true. “I always dreamt of walking for him one day. When I was in Cape Town, Manish called me and asked if I will walk for his show tonight and I took no time to say yes. I landed here and came directly for his show,” she said.

Talking about her outfit, the actress said: “This dress is so awesome, beautiful and gorgeous.” She wore a lehenga teamed up with an embroidered blouse.

There was a glamorous edge to the range with statement accessories, including bejewelled belts and pill-box clutches. Crafted in silks, sheer net and lace — in hues of pure white, baby pink, lime green, lilac, Champagne nude, metallic grey and honey mustard — the ensembles were worn with fine jewellery by Anmol Jewellers.

For the modern gentleman, the collection presented textured velvet bandhgalas, structured jackets and vests paired with Jodhpur pants. The elegant outfits were styled with pocket-squares, jewelled buttons and embroidered silk scarves. And Sushant, who was making his ramp debut, was walked the runway in one of these looks.

Speaking about the collection, Malhotra said: “Lakme Fashion Week is very special to me — both my label and my association with LFW turn 11 this year. Label MANISH MALHOTRA is also the first Indian brand to present a Virtual Reality experience with Etihad Airways.”

There was a big Bollywood turnout yet again to support the designer and his showstopper and some of the faces included Sushmita Sen, Zayed Khan, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Dia Mirza, Padmini Kolhapure, Krishika Lulla, Ashish Chaudhary and his wife, Shraddha Kapoor’s brother Siddhanth Kapoor and many more.

Karan Kundra, along with his girlfriend Anusha Dandekar, were also enjoying the show. They were spotted cuddling each other with Anusha sitting at Karan’s lap and clicking pictures of the glittering new collection.

Etihad’s association with Malhotra is the latest initiative by the Abu Dhabi-based airline following its recently-announced global agreement with WME | IMG to become the fashion industry’s preferred airline. Malhotra is the second designer that the airline has partnered with globally, after Oscar de la Renta at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Australia earlier this year.