At times, when every designer aims to flaunt stand-alone stores, where boutiques open and shut in the city by the dozen, it is a commendable feat for a multi-designer fashion store to complete 25 years of supporting Indian couture.
Started by designer Tarun Tahiliani with his wife Sailaja Tahiliani in 1987, Ensemble completes 25 years in the city even as its Lion Gate address remains a landmark in Indian fashion chronicles. “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 — how they fit, not just how they are embroidered. I realised that there existed incredible Indian talent that wasn’t given a platform,” says the designer.
Apart from Tarun, his sister, Tina Tahiliani-Parikh is the other name associated with the store; she dons multiple hats as the Executive Director and oversees marketing, merchandising and store operations. “The store opened on December 12 at 7 pm and till 4 pm, the scaffolding was still up,” recalls Tina.
In its early days, the store stocked five designers’ collections — Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Khosla, Neil Bieff, Amaya, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla — and they boast of three outlets in the city, and two in Delhi. Their clientele include the who’s who of Indian and international celebrities like Sting, Goldie Hawn, Liz Hurley, Naomi Campbell, Jemima Khan, Parmeshwar Godrej, Rekha, Katrina Kaif, Gauri Khan and Nita Ambani.
The brother-sister duo count their 1994 show in Goa as one of the store’s memorable moments, “The models looked like they were emerging from the sea. Around 45 minutes after the show, a thunderstorm struck and the party moved indoor to the discotheque,” says Tina.
The store seems to have a liking for storms as at the only show that Tarun did not open for 1990 (Rohit Khosla did instead), after a few strong gusts of wind, a thunderstorm struck right after the first sequence!
Ask them how they manage to keep up with the times and go strong, “We love what we do and are passionate about bringing the best edited collections,” Tina signs off.