King oF Couture: Tarun Tahiliani

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Tarun Tahiliani is considered one of the Kings of Couture and leading Fashion Designers of India – otherwise known as India’s Karl Lagerfeld by many leading fashion critics of his Country By Farrah Naz, Photographs courtesy of Tarun Tahiliani

By Farrah Naz, Photographs courtesy of Tarun Tahiliani


arun Tahiliani is considered one of the Kings of Couture and leading Fashion Designers of India – otherwise known as India’s Karl Lagerfeld by many leading fashion critics of his Country. Tarun started out with a sound education: a degree in Business Management from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania and an associate degree in Design from FIT New York. He opened his first fashion boutique in India – ‘Ensemble’, in 1987 heralding a fashion and retailing revolution and contributing to fashion’s overall growth in his country. ‘Ensemble’ is incidentally managed by his sister Tina Tahiliani Parikh now.

Tarun Tahiliani

Tarun Tahiliani then went on to successfully establish his namesake Design Studio which is based in New Delhi. His beautiful signature designs are synonymous for high fashion, style, craftsmanship, quality and refinement as the defining symbols. His lines include couture, diffusion, prêt-a-porter and accessories, which are Indian in nature but with international appeal. Tarun has managed to transform the traditional Indian drapes, textiles and techniques into modern, innovative, structured forms that translate into an international contemporary look.

Tarun Tahiliani held his first solo show in September 1994 in London. Since then, he has never looked back holding numerous shows at home and overseas, i.e. New York, London, Milan, Tokyo, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Moscow and Karachi. In September 2003, he became the first Indian designer to be invited to participate at the Milan Fashion Week. He has been awarded the Moet and Chandon Fashion Tribute 2004 Award for Designer of the Year for India, and was invited to represent India at Hong Kong in October.

He has been awarded the F Award 2004 for Best Women’s Designer for Couture. He is an office-bearer and member of the Fashion Design Council of India. In September 2004 Tarun Tahiliani presented his Spring Summer 2005 collection at The Fashion Coterie in New York, and at the Milan Fashion Week. In October he presented the Lakme Grand Finale “Fireworks Collection” in Mumbai and showcased his collection in Karachi, Pakistan. Need I say more…?

This year Tarun Tahiliani’s international events included the London and Milan Fashion Weeks in February, the Fashion Coterie, New York in February- March, and the Moscow Fashion Week.

In June 2005 Tarun Tahiliani was invited to Durban to showcase his collection at the first ever Durban Fashion Week 2005 and also to Johannesburg Fashion Week (July 2005) along with Malini Ramani and Rohit Bal.

Folks, In 1995 Tarun Tahiliani was commissioned to design Jemima Khan’s, wedding outfit for her marriage to Imran Khan. Tarun has also created confections for some of the world’s most renowned fashion icons including the Duchess of Kent, Indian film star Aamir Khan (for the Oscar presentation ceremony), former Miss World and Indian and international film star Aishwarya Rai, Isabella Blow, actor Kabir Bedi, and Fern Mallis, Executive Director, 7th on Sixth and Vice President, IMG. Celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Goldie Hawn and Elizabeth Hurley have also been known to shop at the Ensemble stores in Mumbai.

Tarun Tahiliani is internationally acknowledged as one of India’s best designers, with his creations available in the top fashion stores in cities across the globe, such as Eickhoff (Germany), Bijenkorf (Amsterdam), Elenora (Rome), Gio Moretti, Via Della Spiga (Milan), Eleven Monte Carlo (Monaco), Podium (Moscow), Scoop and Gus Mayer (New York) and Josephs (London) besides his flagship stores in New Delhi and Mumbai, Ensemble in Mumbai and New Delhi and Kimaya in Mumbai.

For this season Tarun has offered a luxurious mix of trousseau wear options which fulfill not only a bride’s needs but also those of her immediate family and friends. He has used various techniques of embroideries, to help the bride move smoothly from her “daywear” functions like the mehendi to evening-wear like sangeets, leading to the grand finale of the wedding. Silhouettes retain the Tahiliani style of being cut close to the body, the draped saris, sculpted lehengas and Mughal kurta’s.

The entire collection has varied silhouettes forming three main collections – The Resham Collection, The Traditional Collection and The Bridal collection. To complement and complete the entire look, Tarun Tahiliani has introduced a special line of accessories that include semi precious jewellery and hand bags and are available at his flagship store in Mumbai, and the Ensemble at Lion Gate and Kimaya in Mumbai. ■


This article was originally published in the print edition of the “The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review,” Tkfr issue 13, January 2006

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

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