Tarun Tahiliani On Opening FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week With His Latest Line ‘The Reunion’
"I feel modernity is about taking a piece of clothing and wearing it in multiple ways wherein you express yourself fully."
India’s seasoned couturier Tarun Tahiliani opened the second edition of the FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week collaboration. After 2 years of fashion films and virtual presentations, the designer came packed with multiple opulent lines under a larger collection titled ‘The Reunion’. In an exclusive conversation with ELLE, he talks about his latest line, the shift in the bridal market and how he adapts modernism in his design language.
ELLE: Congratulations on opening LFW X FDCI, you’re showcasing draped lehengas with a bridal twist, tell us a little more about that?
Tarun Tahiliani: Thank you, I feel elated to be back at LFW. Along with the draped lehengas we are showcasing a couture collection, a bridal collection as well as a ready to wear line – a category that has always been close to my heart, as it entails the concept of sustainability and greater wearability. In my opinion, artisanal fashion is the way ahead as it is flexible in nature and easy to put together, be it with a pair of jeans, a kurta, a concept sari and much more. I truly do not preach the outdated idea of elaborate sets and we must further give way to the idea of fluid fashion that consumers can buy and put together in their own individualistic and unique manner.
ELLE: What different crafts and textiles are you exploring this season and how have you infused them into your couture?
TT: The crafts and textiles explored by us this season include the incredible chikankari work which was reminiscent of the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah and varied architectural monuments. In addition, we worked with a lot of brocade and completely hand-painted motifs which in turn resulted in textiles that I have never seen nor experienced before in zari. We have a mini capsule collection, Pichwai, which is truly an artisanal delight. It is hand-painted and then embroidered in extremely fine aari French knots. According to me, the greatest factor about this season’s collection is the fact that it is a quintessential synthesis of Tarun Tahiliani studios. We have 10 mini capsule collections as part of the larger collection, ‘The Reunion’.
ELLE: Tips to keep in mind while creating a bridal trousseau this season?
TT: I feel that the bridal trousseau this season is all about achieving finesse. As people finally came out of lockdown and the numerous wedding functions became more intimate and smaller – the anxiety about being overdressed took a back seat and people got a much-needed respite from blending out amongst a massive crowd. It provided crucial freedom to people, especially for young girls to finally showcase their individual style. Coming out of this lockdown, people are more in touch with themselves and it has been an exceptionally positive change in my opinion.
ELLE: How do you manage to incorporate modernity into your designs while retaining your signature timeless aesthetic?
TT: I believe my aesthetic has become more refined as well as defined as I have come along on my design journey. I truly believe in the fact that the more you work on your craft, the better you get. Also, having had the time to sit and focus on the pieces has made them more specific. However, for me, modernity begins and ends at construction and fit. We have become very used to wearing relaxed fits and athleisure, which is extremely comfortable and I believe all great fashion would eventually have to comply with this. I think the trademark of my brand is that we mix modern with traditional handcrafts, with the important notion of fit which only a handful of brands pay attention to. I feel modernity is about taking a piece of clothing and wearing it in multiple ways wherein you express yourself fully. As aforementioned, modernity is sustainability where you can wear a fashion piece multiple times, which undoubtedly becomes difficult if the piece is a part of a fixed set as opposed to something alluring which you can wear in your own way. These are the principles of modernity that our studio adheres to completely. To some degree, it is also luxurious and accessible.
ELLE: From a business point of view, how important is the upcoming wedding season and how do you plan on making the most of it, while also recovering from the halt last year?
TT: The upcoming wedding season has never been more important as people are still not shopping casually but only for very specific events, and there is a no bigger event than the big old Indian wedding. These are the families which are currently shopping and on the lookout for numerous outfits. A lot of the NRI audience that we catered to before have fallen down to a trickle due to the pandemic along with numerous showcases and exhibitions that we did abroad earlier. Therefore, it is excruciatingly important for us in the current scenario.