The 5 people who inspire veteran couturier Tarun Tahiliani

A master couturier, creative extraordinaire of his 25 year-old eponymous label, and one of the vanguards of the Indian fashion industry, Tarun Tahiliani’s couture bridal designs have reigned supreme in the country since the brand’s inception. Just like collections which has been inspired by a plethora of events, arts, culture, and literature over the years, the designer has found strong inspiration in people to feed his creativity and passion. We asked the designer about five people who have and continue to inspire his life and his works:

JRD Tata, for his innate elegance, passion and humanity as the steward of one of the most spectacular corporations, and what he created with Air India, creating a world class entity that projected India and made it legendary–only to be destroyed by our successive political leaders, and the corruption we all lure with.  The Taj Group, Steel, a visionary who remained humane and rooted.  

Arundhati Roy, for having the courage to put down what she thinks and fighting fiercely for the causes she believes in. She is unafraid to say what she has to, with passion and articulation.  

Chandralekha Patel, the Indian dancer and choreographer, who for me was one of the original free thinkers of India modern–fusing Bharatanatyam with yoga and martial arts like Kalaripayattu.  She created postmodern fusion dance, and like all great icons, was timeless and followed her heart. The older she became, the more striking she looked; her white hair and bindi made her all the more compelling.  

Amrita Sher-gill, a legend, a painter with empathy and depth, a free spirit of such elegance of mind, body and passion–every time I walk through her paintings at the NGMA, I stop in awe, and am transported to another time.  She redefined Indian impressionism for that time.  

Laila Tyabji, India’s saviour for the crafts movement at the grassroots level. Dastkaar (her Delhi-based NGO working towards the preservation of traditional Indian crafts) has connected local artisans to a life of independence and self-respect,  something all of us take for granted. She is one of the most elegant Indian women in hand loom, with matching chappals and semiprecious stones.  

Photographs: Getty, Facebook, Twitter

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