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Tarun Tahiliani.
Tarun Tahiliani.

Preview: Tarun Tahiliani makes couture for modern brides

  • Designer Tarun Tahiliani’s new couture collection Bloom will be presented on the final day of the ongoing India Couture Week 2019
  • Bloom is described as a collection that encapsulates 'the metamorphosis of the Indian bride with a synthesis of different cultures'

Couture has to have a sense of modernity," says Tarun Tahiliani. “You can look as traditional as you want but you have to have fun." The designer is meeting me at his office—a sprawling structure in Gurugram distinguished by its exposed brickwork—surrounded by swatches, sketches and mannequins. A few levels below, his team is at work putting the final touches to Bloom, Tahiliani’s new couture collection, to be presented on the final day of the ongoing India Couture Week 2019. It is a collection Tahiliani hopes will offer a new perspective on bridalwear in India.

Bloom is described in its press note as a collection that encapsulates “the metamorphosis of the Indian bride with a synthesis of different cultures". It is also a collection best understood through the prism of time, as Tahiliani steps into his 25th year in the Indian fashion industry. “When we started, we really came out of a textile tradition," he says, deconstructing the various aspects that set the vast repertoire of Indian textiles apart, from the use of colour and intricate embroidery techniques to the region-specific drapes of the garments. The new collection brings each of these elements together with more contemporary design interventions—digitally printed patterns, Swarovski crystals (a leitmotif in Tahiliani’s designs) and a relative sense of lightness.

A rendition of a couture ensemble from ‘Bloom’.
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A rendition of a couture ensemble from ‘Bloom’.

Lightness isn’t a quality easily assigned to couture in India, where brides—the primary wearers of such bespoke creations—often need an entourage to support them in their lehngas and Bollywood celebrities don over 32kg ensembles that give new meaning to the adage “statement dressing". Bloom is for brides who prefer dancing away the night in their wedding ensembles. Despite the abundance of 3D embellishments and embroidery, the lehngas and dupattas are made lighter by the choice of fabrics. Some dupattas are artfully draped and pre-stitched on lehngas for ease of movement. Intricate prints are combined with embroidery techniques like Jamawar, Kashida and zardosi or overlaid with French knots while sleeves and hemlines are fringed with crystals. The pieces are also designed to outlast the wedding day. “We want you to wear this again, with a plain shirt, a turtleneck, something simple—why should you not?" he says.

Details from the new collection.
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Details from the new collection.

The collection also has its share of heavyweight ensembles, including a red and gold lehnga and an ombre-hued gown (which, despite its weight, comes with detachable parts). But Tahiliani is convinced that the future of bridalwear in India lies in lighter silhouettes and more comfortable designs. “The world is switching to simpler, practical wear," he says. “We are trying to free women from thinking that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable to look good."

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