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Tarun Tahiliani Gives Us His Take On AIFW’s “Fresh New Look” Theme

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Tarun Tahiliani needs no introduction in the world of fashion. After setting up India’s first luxury designer store, Ensemble, he went on to launch his own label and never looked back. His minimalistic designs with intricate detailing is what we love most.

This time around at Amazon India Fashion Week A/W’17, Tarun will be showcasing Mughal armoury-inspired art, calling it a “bohemian rhapsody” of sorts. An ode to different forms of craftsmanship, this collection (like the others) is one to look out for.

Sharing the finale stage with Amit Aggarwal, Tarun Tahiliani walks us through his Autumn-Winter 2017 collection and what to expect from it.

Give us an insight on what pre-fashion week preparation is like for you. Take us through the process of putting together a collection.

Great design is always a visceral process, it’s something that you filter through, your own perception, your own view of the world at the moment, and out of this, you will find a new voice, a new message, a new pattern, a new motive.

My creativity comes when I travel, marvel at art, architecture, interiors, history, and even Maharajas.

My inspiration comes from many things. Sometimes it’s from beautiful inlay work I’ve seen in a fabulous monument, other times my inspiration can come from something as simple as a beautiful kanjeevaram weave.

Ultimately, however, my inspiration comes from India’s rich traditions of craftsmanship — particularly when it comes to things like embroideries — that we have in India. Nothing is more amazing than a beautifully executed, intricate, fine technique.

It is so much fun to participate in such a big fashion extravaganza. In a way, it’s the final expression of what you do, to have an arena where you present all this finery in a befitting way on superb, world-class models with jewellery and styling. I don’t look at it as any kind of stress — it’s the fun, and it’s the perk of being in this business.


Tell me about this particular season at AIFW — what is the collection like this time?

The collection celebrates the concept of ‘Separates’, which is perfectly suited for the modern Indian lifestyle and can be paired individually with one’s own separates — jeans, tights, or skirts.

Years of draping, contemporising, and distilling the Indian aesthetic into separates; this ready-to-wear collection offers a smorgasbord of options and allows the ability to manoeuver their identity.

The ultimate definition of versatility, clothes can be tweaked, and mixed and matched with different elements to create a new look every time.

The garments embody the spirit of our rich cultural legacy, which has been updated for the global, peripatetic customer.

What is the inspiration behind the collection?

Combining sensuous occasion-wear with dramatic flair, inspired by the nomadic beauty of Indian tribes and mingling it with motifs from Mughal armoury-inspired art, the Autumn-Winter ‘17 collection is a bohemian rhapsody of sorts. Artfully divided into categories, it showcases different forms of workmanship.

Take, for instance, the Polka range of garments with incredible polka patterns made using Ajrakh, or the Kasuti collection, which is a kaleidoscope of geometric and organic patterns, which takes inspiration from bidri art and is beautifully highlighted.

The Renaissance Stripes collection is a vibrantly edgy range printed with trompe l’oeil stripes inspired by miniatures, etchings, carvings, and manuscript margins from this period. The ready-to-wear line is an extravagant visual tour-de-force.

Can we expect a showstopper this season?

The most beautiful lady should be the clothes on the ramp. The showstoppers have to be the clothes themselves.


What’s it like working with Amit Aggarwal for the finale? Do you feel like the collections complement each other?

This year, I am excited to be presenting the finale with my wonderful colleague, protégé, and someone I have learnt a lot from, Amit Aggarwal. I’ve always liked and respected his work. He always has an original twist. His clothes are really well-crafted and thought out.

And importantly, there is great integrity to his work, which is important. Amit has taken the techniques he’s learned, and made them fresh and new. We both share a mutual love for draping. We both love creating textures by draping, latticing, fluting, ruching, and gathering fabrics.

AIFW is going with the ‘Fresh New Look’ woman this season. What’s your take on this concept?

It’s a culmination of a week of ideas of where Indian fashion will head, the definition of new trends, and what are the ‘Fresh New Looks’ – which is the recurrent theme and slogan for the show.

This is also a fusion of ideas as I show alongside one of my old protégés, who has morphed into his own master with mastery over his own particular techniques and sculptural fashion.

Not a jugalbandhi but derived from the same sources, while the rivers of creativity flowed down different valleys – eventually it all ends in the sea, from the great deep to the great deep it goes.


Tiny but fierce, our Fashion & Beauty Writer grooves to her own soundtrack. An animal lover at heart, she plays proxy mommy to pretty much all the strays she meets.

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