ASW Meets The King of Indian Couture: Tarun Tahiliani
Written By Gayatri Shah
The master of drape, as he’s known the world over, Tarun stands apart for his exquisite tailoring that combines Indian textile heritage with innovative cuts. When Lady Gaga performed in India, she wore a Tarun sari, and pretty much every celebrity and would be bride has to have one of the designer’s creations in their wardrobe. Tarun opened India’s first multi brand boutique, Ensemble, along with his sister, in 1987, giving Indian women a retail experience they desperately needed. He’s recently his company into expanded into interior design and events but his first love will and always remain, fashion.
What made you want to design clothes?
It came as an instinct. I love the draped form. The allure of being wrapped.
What’s the best part about your job? And the worst?
The worst part of my job is the frustration when you cannot get to an idea, when the execution fails you and sometimes is dealing with a lot of tedious people in the whole organizational process.
What are you wearing?
Pretty standard fair that I live in. Black Prada boots and socks, blue black customized denim trousers, Marks and Spencers T shirt and a very comfortable double sweater in cashmere by Brunbllo Cicinelli and a watch.
What do you typically wear to work?
Pretty much what I am wearing today. If I’m not going to see anybody from outside, I might even come in heavy sweat pants. Basically I’m always in a T Shirt with a light sweater because I like to be very comfortable so this lets you move as in a second skin.
Where are you right now?
Sitting at the library desk in our Manesar Studio.
Name one person you most admire?
I admire many different people for different reasons. There could be many variants; for their integrity, intelligence, design, machiavelliness, for their wit.
And one you despise?
I don’t spend a lot of time despising people. The thing I despise the most about people is when they are fake and you see a lot of that here and there. But it is too much of a wasted emotion despising people. It’s nice to move on.
What’s your next great adventure?
I’m going to Paris next week to see the couture shows and exhibitions which I’m greatly looking forward to as an idea to inspire and also the pleasure of seeing how these things are mounted including Maison et Objet and very soon after that hopefully to Botswana – I think that is going to be absolutely terrific.
Where are you happiest?
I am happiest in my home office, which is surrounded by Banyan trees, lots of birds and where a whole day can slip by with only the direction of the sun for you to know what time of the day it is. It is here that I think, I sketch, I paint and I plan and plot for the next week.
If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
I would love to clone myself a couple of times over because then instead of relying on people, I could get things done exactly the way I wanted to.
Do you have a motto for life?
You must live it fully every minute, be fully immersed in everything like it is your last day.
When you’re not working you can be found…
… exercising infrequently, sadly. But more likely to be lounging at Delhi Haat, watching a movie, reading a book or travelling to some manic new destination.
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, whom would it be and why?
Coco Chanel, because she had the most extraordinary life and lived an incredible legacy of modernity. The other person I’d love to meet is JRD Tata, who I think was the true industrial visionary, who lived this quiet life under the radar with incredible elegance, fortitude and integrity.
What’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
The last thing I do before I go to sleep is normally read a paper or scribble in a book. When I lie down more often than not, I thank God.