Tarun Tahiliani | ‘Bridal wear is not about trends’

Tarun Tahiliani | ‘Bridal wear is not about trends’

The master draper is at work again. For the fourth time since 2009, designer Tarun Tahiliani’s Bridal Couture collection was on display at the DLF Emporio mall in New Delhi last week. The bridal exposition travels to Mehboob Studio in Bandra, Mumbai on 6-7 August.

“Bridal is about the bride. It shouldn’t be about trends. Women are still making polarized choices when it comes to couture, but clearly they must be true to who they really are," says Tahiliani, explaining why he overrides trends. In between meeting guests and instructing his team, Tahiliani talked to us about design and business. Edited excerpts:

The reason I do this is because I feel Indian workmanship lends itself better if looked at closely. Because Indian couture is not about shapes and bows, it’s about fantastic craftsmanship. The whole world comes here for that. We have to respect that and show it. Many years ago, I had seen the Costumes of Royal India Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and was very inspired. They had shown all these clothes on mannequins like art pieces and that’s where I got the idea from. In a show, it becomes more about the hair and make-up. It’s just come and go. You don’t see the detail. In this case, there’s a steady stream of people coming, they look and admire, identify what they like. It’s focused business promotion. But this doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do couture week. I will surely.

There’s a mix of drape and structure in this collection.

I am really into draping. I always say, if 150 years ago I’d jumped out of a plane, I would have been able to tell which part of the country I’d landed in by the way they draped their clothes. We are a draping tradition and we’ve lost that. In this collection, it is a mix but frankly it’s a new technique and not easy. I see a few people do it right, maybe Gauri and Nainika, but mostly what I see is done wrong—without saying anything more. Take a look at the concept sari. It’s half-sari, half-lehenga, has a Western corset and a collar to look like a pallu. Maybe someone may find it too evolved to wear, but it’s exciting and a challenge to create.

It’s inevitable. For instance, I want to do watches, but I can’t do them because I’m not ready to bring down the quality of what I make. So I have to collaborate with a watchmaker. I’d rather stick to what I know and understand; make clothes. But it reaches other markets by licensing. That’s the business model that has been developed abroad. But you have to choose carefully. Designers have even ruined their names, like Pierre Cardin apparently over-licensed and he had no control. His line became too commercial and lost the image of being top line.

You’ve been designing for over two decades. What keeps you going day after day?

I’m the old-fashioned artiste whose interests spill into various things. I like to move between disciplines because it keeps me more engaged. I finished this collection and I’m waiting to get back to work on Monday to work on our ready-to-wear line. We’re working with khadi and malkha. It’s going to be fantastic. I love architecture. I wanted to be an architect, but you had to take physics and chemistry for that and I didn’t understand either. But I’ve always sketched. When you’re into something creative, you realize that all design is interconnected.

komal.sharma@livemint.com

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