Tarun Tahiliani is not a man of many words; his designs speak for themselves. Known for giving traditional craftsmanship a modern twist, Tahiliani has been a favourite among bollywood celebrities and Hollywood A-listers such as Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga.In an exclusive interview to KAVERI WAGHELA, he speaks on what he plans to unleash this summer and how Indians are far more conscious about fashion than they were a decade ago
You are known for your signature drapes and intricate detailing that gives your clothes an old world yet a modern charm...
Drapes form a very important part of the Indian aesthetic. The way one drapes a saree is very important. A badly draped saree can make or break the elegance of it. I think drapes complement Indian women very well.
You have been in the fashion circuit for more than two decades. What are the changes you have seen in recent years especially in the way Indian fashion is being marketed?
Of course there have been a lot of changes, most of which are very positive. The retail sector has become more organised. Also, newer designers are concentrating on niche mediums to make their designs stand out. Advertising, sales and social media play a huge role in creating an audience for the designers today.
You were among the first designers to showcase Indian sensibilities in your collection abroad…
It gives me immense pleasure to showcase Indian sensibilities to a wider audience. Most buyers as well as those who have come to watch the shows, have been very positive about my work and my designs. This is a major boost to every designer.
A model displays a lehenga from Tarun Tahiliani ‘s Spring Summer Occasion Collection.
Malls and online shops are a rage these days. Do you think it is takingsomething away from a standalone boutique?
The standalone boutique will always have a special place in people’s hearts. It’s not only about customisation of a product, there is also a relationship between the designer and the customer that online shops cannot forge. The customer knows the brand, its forte, and the design only by experiencing and feeling the environment, which an online shop fails to give.
What cuts suit Indian women most? What about men? Are they finally becoming fashion conscious?
Not only men, I think the Indian audience as a whole has become fashion conscious. They know what they want and what suits them. This makes it very easy for the designer to interpret a design.I don’t think there is a particular cut that suits women. Everyone has a different body type. To stratify women into a general category will never serve the purpose of a design. Maybe, international audiences are used to the term ‘cut’ because the women there, more or less have the same body image. But in India it is different in India.
But yes, men are becoming much more aware of cuts and silhouettes that suit them. We have a lot of waistcoats, classic tailored pants and linen shirts that are easy to carry off.
Bridal wear in India has gone through a sea change over the past five years. What are the changes that you took to?
I think I fall somewhere between a classic and a modern designer. I can’t describe myself as an edgy designer. The design is more or less the same. We have included a lot of hand woven fabric such as khadi, brocades, jamewars, textured silk, shot silks, silk tulles,silk velvets and jamdanis that are used to create our bridal pieces.
You are showcasing your Summer Resort Collection in back to back fashion weeks. Excited?
I am very excited. I always feel happy during fashion weeks. I have been associated with Lakme (LFW) since many years. It’s a great platform for the old as well as the new designers.
What does your LFW Summer/Resort 2013 Collection comprise?
My collection this year will have a lot of prints and solid colours. Black and white shades will always have a permanent presence. For women, there will be a lot of shift dresses, kaftans, wrap skirts and breezy sarees. For men, there are classic, well-tailored shirts, pants and kurtas.
Any words of advice for budding designers?
Becoming a successful designer involves a lot of hard work. Do it because you love it, else it will burn you out. The glamour is a false projection, it’s more about hard work.