His collections are infused with comfort, glamour and versatility. He sketched wedding clothes at the age four or five, without even knowing about bridal couture. He won accolades for the sketches and considers them as his prized possessions, decades later. The man behind Indian bridal couture, designer Tarun Tahiliani, needs no introduction.
After a successful stint at the FDCI India Couture Week 2016 in Delhi recently, where the veteran designer showcased his collection “Last Dance Of The Courtesan”, the designer is all geared up for the upcoming Vogue Wedding Show 2016 in Delhi. In a exclusive tête-à-tête with the designer, Deepannita Chakraborty delves on current trends of the Indian bridal couture, his inspiration and much more.
Q: This year ‘The Tarun Tahiliani Bride’ is…..
A: The Tarun Tahiliani bride loves quality and fit, and knows that style is not just what one wears, but ‘how’ one wears it. She lives in her heritage and yet is modern. She is individualistic and flexible to the changing times.
Q: Do you see a change in the Indian bride in terms of fashion consciousness?
A: As Indians are getting wealthier, their propensity to consume has gone up. A bride who came to our stores earlier would have spent about Rs 4-5 lakh on her wedding attire, but times have changed. A bride now is very comfortable spending Rs 8 lakh, but the rise in spending power also means a more exacting customer, in terms of fit, finish and quality of product as the new Indian has become increasingly aware of global standards of quality.
Q: You have been in the fashion industry for more than two decades. What inspired you to take up fashion as a career?
A: I am an Indian who was brought up with a strong English influence and live 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 of India was shriveled up from a lack of design innovation and proper patronage. Slowly, a new philosophy began to develop out of this bleak environment: one that was awakened to India’s truly great heritage and one that understood that contemporary design could give India’s rich traditions a new voice and, thus, a new resonance.
My father sent me abroad to pursue a degree in Business Management from Wharton. After returning to India, I saw a vast potential in the fine clothing and couture industry that was evolving in the country, and in 1987, opened India’s first multi designer boutique, Ensemble along with Rohit Khosla and my wife Sal.
I never actually had an initial thought for my label. So the only thing I knew from the very beginning was that I was attracted to the draped form. The saree had a very incredible influence on me because the way it wraps and moulds different people is incredible. When I went to Benaras for the first time, I knew that I liked beige, I liked cutwork. But knowing that is not enough to express a cohesive line and that’s why I started my label in 1995, when I did my first solo show in London, because I felt that by then I was ready. But today I don’t even understand how we did that because we have such a heightened vision today of what we want to do and how we would like to work. So that has been very exciting.
Q: Apart from the FDCI India Couture Week 2016 and the Vogue Wedding Show 2016, what are the other shows in your kitty?
A: We will be presenting our RTW AW 16-17 collection at Lakme Fashion Week – the journey only gets bigger and better from here.
Q: Any comment on the Indian fashion industry and its changing trends?
A: The Indian of today has evolved and so have the garments. When it comes to Indian bridal wear, there is a visible evolution. Once you get comfortable in western outfits, people get used to the fit and proportion and so they start enjoying well cut and fitted clothes that are easy to move around in. As most bridal wear revolves around couture, there is no fun in heavy clothes which restrict movement and come in the way of wedding celebrations – hence the shift to lighter outfits is a key trend.
The Vogue Wedding Show 2016 is a 3-day opulent wedding exhibition showcasing the latest and most exclusive wedding services and over 50 coveted brands from the bridal world. Designers such as JADE (Monica & Karishma), Anita Dongre, Manish Malhotra, Payal Singhal, Sabyasachi, Shantanu & Nikhil and Varun Bahl will participate in the Vogue Wedding Show this year. Guests will also have the convenience of meeting the finest purveyors of products and services pertaining to weddings, all under one roof.