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Tarun Tahiliani Forecasts Bridal Trends To Look Out For In 2024

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Nayare Ali

The suave designer and maestro of the au naturale look, Tarun Tahiliani forecasts upcoming bridal trends, reflects on the most cherished brides he’s dressed and shares his exciting plans for celebrating a milestone with HELLO!

Over two decades since launching his eponymous label, Tarun Tahiliani shows no signs of slowing down. He’s preparing for two major productions. The first is a grand museum show at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), featuring a costume exhibit that will showcase his drapes alongside a collection of museum sculptures. “It’s going to be a spectacle, and the museum is a true gem celebrating art, culture and now fashion in this part of the world,” he says of the event, that marks a first for Indian designers.

Additionally, he’s launching the book Tarun Tahiliani: Journey to India Modern, commemorating 25 years of his studio with a tableau performance and show this November. He elaborates on how the “modern” in the title pays homage to his discovery of India through fashion which in turn led to his passion for contemporising traditional craftsmanship. “I didn’t want it [Indian fashion] to be relegated to a mere costume at big weddings with people looking like Sanjay Leela Bhansali heroines, even as we move away from such stereotypical portrayals,” Tarun says.

In this chat, the maestro of everything gossamer and light tells HELLO! he’s thrilled that Indian brides are gradually embracing looks that reflect their true selves.

HELLO!:You are one of India’s most sought-after bridal designers. How would you define the TT bride?

Tarun Tahiliani: “I want her to be herself. I don’t like this fake look. If you’re playing a character from Jodha Akbar, then its fine. But today my bride wants to dance till 5am so her outfit can’t be heavy. The TT bride is a highly educated and independent woman who wants to appear super chic and elegant. My bridal outfits float on the body. Even the veil that I design is light and transparent and you can see the bride’s face.”

H!:If you were to pick your top three favourite brides spanning three generations, who would they be?

TT: “Tanya Godrej [Dubash], who is known for her minimalist style, embraced a more fun and vibrant persona at her wedding while staying true to her simple style. Next is Shilpa Shetty [Kundra], who exuded immense confidence and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And then there’s Aliya Modi [Carlson], who looked absolutely stunning at her sangeet in Venice. However, I must emphasise that there are many Indian brides who look incredibly beautiful.

H!:Do you feel that the business of dressing up the groom is also getting serious now?

TT: “Yes, nowadays men are both fit and self-conscious. And even if they don’t pay as much attention, the brides want to make sure their grooms are on par with them. Men are opting for more tailored clothing and looking for durability, so they don’t mind investing in a piece that they can use over the years.”

H!:How much of your business today is led by bridal wear?

TT: “There are three parts to my business: fashion off the stores, ready-to-wear bridal collections costing up to ₹8 lakhs and our customised from-scratch outfits; the last has seen a 30% increase in business. The other two contribute equally to the overall business.”

H!:What are the bridal trends that we can look forward to this year?

TT: “Lots of soft colours, beautiful pastels, long veils, one necklace and a very natural appearance. Indian brides are finally beginning to look more like themselves.”

H!:You have completed 25 years in the industry? What keeps you motivated?

TT: “I love what I do. I have more control over my craft today than when I started out as a retailer with Ensemble [India’s first multi-designer boutique founded by Tarun’s sister, Tina Tahiliani-Parikh]. At that point in time, I realised that I didn’t have any expertise. Unlike the Italian designers, like Versace, whose mother was a great seamstress and had incredibly technical knowledge, we Indians don’t sew.”

H!:You are known for your innovative drapes. How important is structured draping when it comes to Indian fashion?

TT: “When people think of India, they often focus on its colours and textiles, which are indeed remarkable. However, for me, India is equally about drapes. I love to photograph a wide range of subjects, capturing anything and everything that catches my eye. I often visit my sister’s house in Mumbai and, on one occasion, I noticed how one of the maids there tended to tuck her sari higher while sweeping and swabbing the floors. I took a photograph of her and used that design element to create a beautiful skirt which is now a part of our collection.”

Most people don’t know how to drape. Indian designers have learnt it and are using it into their collections. Designer Gaurav Gupta has mastered it and gone to another level. There are others who do simpler versions. We have also evolved from only wearing saris to more western or fusion draped outfits. For instance, while my grandmother only wore saris, today my daughter-in-law wears structured drapes all the time; I hardly ever see her in saris.”

H!:Embellishments are another important factor in your designs. How do you strike a balance between keeping it elegant and not going OTT?

TT: “I don’t do weighty saris. We do a lot of research, weigh our swatches and have constant conversations with our karigars to make the garments lighter. Luxury is how it feels against your skin.”

H!:Who are the most stylish women in India?

TT: “Stylish people have their own unique style. I find Rekha, Simi Garewal and Arundhati Roy very stylish due to their distinct and individualistic choices. Rekha is always in exquisite saris, exuding an apsara-like aura. When she enters a room, you can’t take your eyes off her. She has elevated classicism to an entirely new level of sensuality, a feat that many in pursuit of fashion have struggled to replicate. Simi’s look is very clean, tailored, sharp whites or black-and-whites. A woman who dedicates time to intellectual development and projects the idea that while fashion is intriguing, it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Arundhati adorns beautiful Indian handloom saris with a powerful mind.”

H!:If you were to give advice to the young Tarun when he started out, what would you tell him?

TT: “Don’t assume that design is the only spoke in the wheel. Like every other business, you must be involved with all aspects, be it design, finance, production and operations. If you ignore even one aspect, the wheel starts to wobble.”

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s November 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!