Fashion couturier Tarun Tahiliani has carved a distinct niche for himself creating amazing bridal trousseaus over the last 27 years. Tarun showcased his latest collection at the ongoing Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour held in Gurugram on December 7, 2018.
In an interview with thestatesman.com, the designer talked about his creative design process and as well the concept of ‘My Blend, My Pride’.
What inspired you to chase fashion as a career?
I have always sketched fashion, from the time I was six or seven and went to Doon school. I won the best artist prize and my professor came up to me and said it’s great but where are you going to get in life drawing high fashion models. Nobody thought about it, one just drew what one felt like. You did it because you liked doing it, because it flowed out of your hands. So the journey has been wonderful, from drawing to art school to doing a business degree to starting a store or multi-brand store to promote design to realizing that design is what I wanted to do and then having the opportunities work out that I could live that life. I studied business at Wharton and in 1991, I received an associate degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. When I came back to India over two decades ago, my first challenge was to change Indian preconceptions.
When did you first start your store?
I started the store with my wife to promote the best of Indian design because I thought it was odd that 40 years after independence we were still sending our best products abroad. We knew that the way clothes are made is important – in other words, how they fit, not just how they are embroidered. The store became a sensation heralding a fashion and retail revolution in India. Thereafter, I founded Tarun Tahiliani Design studio in 1995. Since then my signature has evolved as a fusion of textile detail, refined luxury, and meticulous tailoring with innovative modern construct and fit. We create couture and ready-to-wear which is Indian in their sensibility, yet international in their appeal.
How do you describe your creative design process?
Great design is always a visceral process, it’s something that you filter through, your own perception, your own view of the world at the moment and out of this you will find a new voice a new message, a new pattern, a new motive. My creativity comes when I travel, marvel at art, architecture, interiors, history, Maharaja’s! My inspiration comes from many things. Sometimes it’s from beautiful inlay work I’ve seen in a fabulous monument, other times my inspiration can be something as simple as a beautiful kanjeevaram weave. Ultimately, however, my inspiration comes from India’s rich traditions of craftsmanship—particularly when it comes to things like embroideries—that we have in India. Nothing is more amazing than beautifully executed, intricate, fine technique.
Describe your collaboration with Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2018 and the show around the concept of ‘My Blend, My Pride’?
I love the idea of Indian pride and as we have changed and morphed as a society I love the identity of a new blend which is what people like me have truly become because we were born and brought up in India but speak English, travel the globe. Fortunately, in my case I also work very closely with Indian craft that is connected to our culture for thousands of years and out of this comes a new blend of human lifestyle and way of thinking. “My Blend, My Pride” is really a resonation of so much work and thinking over years of combining our traditions and our traditional culture and form of dress with western tailoring and evolving to suit our new lifestyle. Therefore “My Blend, My Pride” and I have arrived at this new way of being.
What sets Tarun Tahiliani collection apart from other designers?
A modern consciousness, enhanced by lightness and poise that radiates. A new voice of tradition.
Tell us a little more about the India Modern collection?
India is such an old culture that has existed for thousands of years, has had many influences, many foreign invasions and now a global invasion of ideas through social media and the net. All these influences create a new world, it creates a new millennial, it creates a new way of thinking, it creates a new way of engagement and my fashion has this very essence in it. Our collection has a view in the present moment, but, ultimately much steeped in the Indian traditions of draped form and the techniques that millions of Indian craftspeople imbibe with love. The silhouettes combine western notions of cut, construct and finish but using Indian heritage and craftsmanship.
What are the blooming modern style trends that have been borrowed from traditional Indian clothing?
The trending new silhouette, I think is the weightless ethereal lehenga with long trails. I have always liked lightness and bounce. I’d rather think of it as a soufflé than a very heavy metallic and inlaid deathly garment. So, I think people want that. They want the effervescence of great construction, of beautiful colours of sparkling diamantes thread work etc. but they want to be able to move. Colours that they wear in their normal life so it is not a day in costume, but an extension of their day-to-day elegance.
Key Trends for brides this year? – In my opinion, the biggest bridal trends for this and the upcoming wedding season are elegance, elegance and more elegance as opposed to being over the top. Lightness, movement, pastel colours, looking like yourself and the contemporization of being bridal. Fashion is individual! It could be what makes one comfortable. Indian fashion has never been about trends. People should be themselves and feel beautiful, by choosing what makes them feel spectacular.
Less is more or more the merrier? – Less is more
Who from Bollywood would you like to doll up? – Kriti Sanon, Shilpa Shetty, Sonam Kapoor, Jacequline Fernandes, Madhuri Dixit….
The most fashionable destination – Milan, Paris, Rome and India.