‘Fashion has always been my muse’

Curated by Vogue India, held in partnership with Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, the fifth edition of the luxury event…

‘Fashion has always been my muse’

(Photo: Facebook)

Curated by Vogue India, held in partnership with Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, the fifth edition of the luxury event will feature some of the most premium and personalised category leaders and services. Poised to be grander and bigger this season, the Vogue Wedding Show 2017, to be held from 4- 6 August at the Taj Palace, New Delhi, will offer guests the opportunity to make selections for their dream wedding. Designer Tarun Tahiliani talks about the trend forecast for the upcoming marriage season — the colour palette, silhouettes, drapes, combinations, everything that is in vogue!


Q You studied business management in Wharton Business School, later joined your family’s oil equipment business but finally settled down to design bridal trousseau. What was the reason behind such transition?


After obtaining a degree in business management, I came back to India and joined the family oil equipment business. It seemed okay initially, but I soon realised that it was not the right fit and got bored really quickly.

Fashion has always been my muse. I saw a vast potential in the fine clothing and couture industry that was just evolving in the country back then and found my niche there. With my wife, Sailaja, I then opened the first multi-designer luxury store, Ensemble, in 1987, with hopes of reawakening the Indian fashion industry.

From then, there was no looking back. This kicked off the whole idea of home grown Indian couture. The store became a sensation, heralding a fashion and retail revolution. And thereafter, I founded Tarun Tahiliani Design Studio in 1990.

Q Your designing sensibilities are a perfect balance between Indian traditional drapes and detailing, and western contemporary fashion. How do you find a middle ground between the two?

I am an Indian who was brought up with a strong English influence and lived by the mantra “India Modern”. I grew up in Bombay, in a post-colonial, socialist India, where the elite clung to Jesuit schools and piano lessons and the craft shrivelled up from a lack of design, innovation and proper patronage. Slowly, a new design philosophy began to develop out of this bleak environment— one that was awakened to India’s truly great heritage. Creating a harmony of the contemporary with the traditional has always been the founding ground of Tarun Tahiliani couture. We combine traditional Indian embroideries with high level of technique in our draping and detailing to create the western contemporary look. Contemporary Indian brides are now ready to break a few norms to look their best on their wedding day. The silhouettes combine western notions of cut, construct and finish but using Indian heritage and craftsmanship to create ensembles that are reminiscent of the sophistication and charm of the traditional bride.

Q Your bridal collections have their fair share of subtle and mellow colours, in stark contrast to the bling and glitter than Indian bridal wear was earlier synonymous with. What is your inspiration behind this?

I have always loved working with subtle colours like ivory and beige. I have worked with a refined colour palette that brings an understated elegance to the collection. Brides today are willing to take more risks with what they wear on their big day as everyone wants to look different from the rest. We are no longer confined to just red being the colour of choice for the bride. With a shift in bridal trends, moving away from blingy and mutli-coloured ensembles to a more sophisticated palette of creams, ivories, off-white, beige, powder blue, and pale pinks and peaches.

Q How would you describe a Tarun Tahiliani bride? The Tarun Tahiliani bride loves quality and fit, knows that style is not just what one wears but also how one wears it. She lives in heritage and is yet modern. She has a distinct, individualistic style and beautifully adapts it to the changing times. This bride draws her allure and confidence, which is a modern Indian love story, and romance is at the very centre of its aesthetic. It’s all about culture, craft and for all it stands —opulence, romance, passion, intrigue, seduction — a clever juxtaposition of tradition and modern sensibility, an aesthetic that the Tarun Tahiliani bride would have great appreciation and regard for.

Q Indian marriages were earlier more about the bridal accoutrement than the apparel of the bridegroom. What are your thoughts on the Indian groom who is becoming more fashionable with each passing wedding season?

Today most grooms take their dress and styling as seriously as the brides and this shift has been inspiring for us. Men have switched from wearing suits to now wanting to look very much the groom, combining the traditional with fine tailoring and fit. It’s unconceivable anymore to see a groom in a suit.

The groom has awakened – from paired down refinement to complete costumes of Royal India chic, he is fit, involved and dancing, as a consequence of morphing metro-sexual Indian males. This is the new India after all. Men have opened up to take more risks with their outfits too. We often get requests of grooms wanted matching fabrics as the bride, which is a challenge that has often produced wonderful results.