Tarun Tahiliani revolutionized the concept of Indian couture

Indian coutureTarun Tahiliani, one of the top names of Indian fashion, who revolutionized the way we consume couture with his inimitable take on it, it is hard to imagine he did not always plan to be a designer, writes Praachi Raniwala in Vogue magazine.


Tarun pursued business management at the globally renowned Wharton School of Business. After his education, like many other members hailing from the business families, he moved into his family business, until fashion came calling, writes Praachi. The ace designer tells the writer that the business degree he had pursued was just to make his father happy. Even while he was pursuing the management degree course, young Tarun was taking several arts and live model-drawing classes in art school.

Family Business

As Tarun came back from the US, his father took up the mantle of the chief of naval staff; hence it became an occupational hazard to continue as a trustee of their family business. Tarun was then left with no choice other than to take a leap into the family business. Though he developed the division, which was supplying oil field equipment to ONGC, something was working at the back of Tarun’s mind that this was not something that he could do all his life, he tells Praachi.

Idea of Ensemble

Praachi writes that the idea for Ensemble was born from a discussion Tarun had with his wife, Sal. Back in 1987, the couple firmed up their mind to open a fashion outlet, promoting abundant Indian talent seen across the globe. What is more, the ensemble is now one of the leading multi-designer boutiques in India, helmed by Tarun’s sister Tina Tahiliai-Parikh, she writes.

Beyond Retailer ship

Not content with the ensemble, Tarun wanted to grow beyond a mere retailer. Thus came, his eponymous label in 1990 and went on to hone his understanding of design techniques at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, the following year, Praachi writes and adds that in the past 27 years, Tarun’s namesake brand, Tahiliani has catapulted into one of India’s most revered fashion houses, reinventing centuries-old traditions with a fresh, contemporary expression.

Biggest compliment

The biggest compliment Tarun received was from the late stylist, Isabella Blow, who, after recognizing his talent, billed him as the title of ‘Karl Lagerfeld of India. Incidentally, this is the very designer whose success inspires Tarun till date. “I look at Karl Lagerfeld, and think, if I could even have half of what he does, I’ll be lucky. I don’t know how he manages to do what he does.”  Not unlike Lagerfeld, Tarun himself has succeeded in several diverse markets without ever compromising on his voice. While his bridal wear is heavily sought-after, so are his prêt collections, signature drapes, and digital prints. “Our separates are bestsellers too as they allow women to style them in their own way,” he tells Praachi.


“Individuality could easily be Tarun’s middle name, writes Praachi. Whether he’s telling it like it is, redefining the traditional sari with his constructed tailoring, or unburdening the quintessentially heavy bridal lehenga, Tarun is a champion of always having a distinct signature. It reflects in the kind of woman he designs for too—well-read, with a strong identity and sense of purpose.

Designing for Modern Indian Woman

Designing for the ‘modern Indian woman’ has become something of a catchphrase today. It is something more than a few designers claim to do. But this has been at the core of his vision from the very beginning. And not because he wanted to jump onto a bandwagon, but because this is the only ‘kind’ of the woman he has known all his life”, Praachi adds.

Leave a Comment