Ace couturier Tarun Tahiliani gives Shagun Shah his interpretation of the fluid traditional in the evolving fashion scenario.
Also Read: Lip Colour- A kiss of ‘black’
How far back does your love for fashion go?
I was born with fashion, but I formally got into it when I started Ensemble. Fashion is my muse!
Change is in the air…
When it comes to Indian couture there is a visible evolution. Once you get comfortable in western outfits people get used to the fit and proportion so they start enjoying well-cut and fitted clothes which 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 the wedding celebrations – hence the shift to lighter outfits is a key trend.
As an Indian couture house we understand that we need to be more accessible to the changing demographic. Indians now understand western principles of cut and construct, fit and finish and we will have to deliver! As Indians become wealthier, their standards are more exacting and the industry is gearing up for just that. India’s propensity to consume is gaining an international audience and this is changing the competitive landscape.
I think we must live in the present and be fluidly modern. One can be traditional but I hate the idea of living in the past. Tomorrow must have freshness. Our collections are inspired by the concept of India Modern. The textiles and the embroideries are traditional. Modern is the use of fit, pattern and construction and of course the kinds of materials used. In terms of budgets, in terms of design, I think that there are a few brides who are happy to be a little more experimental sometimes with what they wear but mostly when it comes to outfits for their Sangeet or their Mehendi they are more open to experimenting with the silhouette. When it comes to the wedding lehenga itself, I think most people like to stick with what is traditional. Obviously this varies from bride-to-bride.
Apart from the basic way of draping a sari, what according to you should be four different ways for a modern girl to wear a sari?
I love the sari as an aesthetic and I am obsessed with draping. The Indian and Greek styles of dressing are all about draping – and very similar. They usually wear waistbands over gowns so these belts work to add that extra bit of Indo-Western look. From nine yards of fabric it has become a pre-structured draped sari with zips. The Indian woman of today has evolved and so has the sari. I think pre-constructed saris are a response for the women of today who have much less time to dress and comfort and style become of paramount importance.
The dhoti drape has been a great hit, because we have taken our structured draping to a whole new level, enabling men and women to wear silhouettes like never before. We have interesting new drapes in saris like the dhoti sari, concept saris, cocktail saris and now the jumpsuit sari which is for the modern Indian woman who is aware of traditions, yet very strong in her individual style statement. As she wears some western clothing, she has a very strong idea of fit and finish, but yet wants to be Indian in a contemporary way. The sari is the quintessence of Indian fashion. Throw a gilet over a sari for a chic look or wear a sari with a belt for an elegant look.
How would you incorporate Indian motifs in international runway gowns and vice versa?
The form and structure of my silhouettes are contemporary and western in terms of cut and construct; however, the detailing remains traditional in technique.The idea is to take traditional Indian fashion and take it forward to modernity. For example, the structured drapes of my collections are an interpretation of the organic drapes of various Indian draping techniques.
Why is there no growth of supermodels in fashion currently; we see only Bollywood actors being show stoppers for designers…
That is because we, as Indians, are collectively obsessed with Bollywood. On the ramp a designer’s clothes should speak for themselves.
One Bollywood actor who does pure justice to your clothing?
It would be impossible to pick out only one, and there is no ideal. Rather, women who were themselves, danced with gusto and whose radiance outshines their jewels. Some examples – MehrJesia, Shilpa Shetty, AtashiSaraf, Tanya Godrej Dubash, DeepikaPadukone, Lisa Haydon, to name a few.
What is your vision for your brand?
The TarunTahiliani brand has set out to create the ultimate in “India Modern”: a brand with a view in the present moment, but, ultimately, much steeped in the Indian traditions of draped form and the techniques that millions of Indian hands imbibe with love. This, combined with western notions of cut, construct and finish but using Indian heritage and craftsmanship.“All that we were and more!” This, then, is the guiding philosophy of the TarunTahiliani studio, where the drapes of tribal men, the headgear of wandering dervishes and the tie and dye techniques of Rajasthan nomads are all a part of the design vocabulary.
The birth of the digital age made a barrage of new references and collages possible, and these, too, eventually made their way onto the clothes. The jewel tee, copied the world over, Trompe l’Oeil oil techniques and the traditional Indian art of draping, all have become new idioms for the studio and have become the guiding principles of TarunTahiliani designs.
Also Read: Fashion and Trendz- Cape of new vogue
We, at the TarunTahiliani Design Studio have also drawn on all our strengths and trademark techniques including traditional embroideries and have revolutionised our digital prints. Continuing our eternal innovations in the draped form, we endeavor to present collections that are a distillation of our couture sensibility and yet competitively priced to stand on their own anywhere in the world whether it is style or price or fit.
Tell us about the upcoming couture week. What magic are you going to create this time?
Bridal couture represents the highest realms of craft and fit. The “Last Dance of the Courtesan” is a tribute, and acknowledgement of the highest bastions of culture, poetry, dance and finesse as practiced by the courtesans till a little over a century ago. Refined and seductive but never overtly erotic the research of the same has resulted in this collection for the contemporary diva with all the values described above. Affirmative – a force, a look, in full command, a coquette and strategist. Bridal, couture and bespoke collections from another time to this time – for him and her.