Fashion, Features, People & Parties

Tarun Tahiliani: The Master of Indian Couture Discovers the Best of Both Worlds

  By Priya Kumar Having designed bridal wear for the past three decades, Tarun Tahiliani is bored with Bridal trends. "Bridal is about the bride. It shouldn’t be about trends. I mean, if she has any individuality at all." He continues the thought that Brides must make a choice. "It’s either Western or Indian wear. That’s kind of weird and unnatural, don’t you think? To have to choose? I transcend both. Like the sari-esque evening gown. I think we’re moving towards such hybrids. And they’re coming from how we’re evolving. We must be true to that. At any rate, I think it’s much cooler than assuming an identity at your wedding, as if you were character in a film. A bride is not an actor!”

Mehr Jessia in Tarun Tahiliani with Arjun Rampal at the Cannes Film Festival this year

In its fourth year, the Tarun Tahiliani Couture Expo brings the best of what the famed designer has to offer for the year. Having dropped the name "Bridal" from the title of the event that spans two weekends in New Delhi then Mumbai, Tahiliani clarifies that couture should be more than just for brides. For example, Mehr Jessia wore a TT design to Cannes this year.

Newly Introduced Jewel Box

Tahiliani has taken a different approach to displaying his couture collections.  As opposed to having a lavish runway show, he offers a more interactive high-end trade show that allows brides to consult with him directly. This year, he has added an additional element to display the 2012 collection to his devout clientele called the "Jewel Box".  The Jewel Box stands symbolic for the anticipation, the treasured hopes and dreams of a bride to be. "When one thinks of the box, one wonders what treasures will be unearthed, what memories will be evoked, what family traditions will be uncovered," Tahiliani says. "Exquisite pieces are carefully picked out, valued and cherished. It is this precious experience that we hope to recreate this year with AIS Glasxperts’ glass installation. We have worked very closely with Sumanth Jayakrishnan and AIS technicians on realizing this ethereal, frameless structure. A far reaching and ambitious concept, I can only see to believe the final masterpiece! The setting would be a magnanimous glass cuboid, 14feet in height, created with modern glass panelling and techniques. One of the cabins, that houses the mannequins features an insulated glass unit, with in-built motorized blinds sandwiched between the glass, so that models appear and disappear creating an interesting effect."

Tahiliani with Models at Expo

Counting myself among his legion of fans, I can't say enough about how he has modernized Indian Couture. His use of Austrian Swarovski crystals adds a touch of refined elegance to his pieces not previously seen in South Asia thus allowing his 2012 collection transcends cultural boarders. It is irrefutable that his 35-piece collection successfully strikes a fine balance between traditional craftsmanship and contemporary construction proving one need not be a bride to truly appreciate Tahiliani's work.

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