Tarun Tahiliani

Tarun Tahiliani

A last minute walk into a museum leads to a fortuitous event. Staring at a painting and instantly there is a spark. A bond is formed over common interests and a relationship develops. This is not a love story; it’s the story of how the 2015 Spring/Summer line came to be.

Works by The Singh Twins play muse to this collection. In the unique genre of Past Modern, as opposed to Post Modern, The Singh Twins are two artists, twin sisters working as one, in tandem. Reviving the technique of miniature painting and juxtaposing it with modern iconography, they create vibrant and detailed work that questions the conventional notion of the arts.

Their work is a mélange of many things; their Indian and British identities, eastern and western aesthetics, the personal and the political, social commentary with tongue in cheek humour. The highly decorated artists have been awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) and shown in the Smithsonian, the Musée Des Beaux Arts, the NGMA, and the National Portrait Gallery, London among others.

The miniature style of painting translates beautifully to digitally printed clothing. The illustrative style of the padhsahnama makes them look like they belong in the gilded age of the past but you will find the modern, social commentary if you look for it. Selectively chosen elements from different paintings ensure that the wit is not lost in translation.

The Mughal sensibilities, the marriage of the old and the new fall neatly in the wheelhouse of the design oeuvre; of using age old techniques to forward a fun, playful idea that does not take itself too seriously. The saris shake up the status quo and transcend from being classic garb into a buzz of colour and shocking LED like borders. And there are various versions to choose from – the concept sari, the dhoti sari or the traditional one but rife with colours that spell riot.

The borders, carrying Persian motifs can form up to ten concentric layers of framing. Used effectively in saris, these borders incorporate layer upon layer of colour, merging into one magnificent canvas from afar because of the delicate nature of the ombré. Used separately, the intricate borders themselves take centre stage on leggings and dresses.The vast canvas of flowing silk kaftans allows the magic of the paintings to come through and the hyper-modern, sleekly cut gilets add eccentricity and style.

The colour inspirations are so unexpected that it could only exist in nature. The blue orange hue of a macaw, the reds and yellows of the rising sun – the palette pays homage to the Indian identity that celebrates colour with gusto, in a bohemian or a sophisticated setting. Not restricted to a pre-designed ensemble, the separates enable experimentation. The dhoti skirts and the lungi skirts are one-of-a-kind pieces in light fabric that fit effortlessly for the day. Jewel Tees can be transformative for the evening with jewel tones combining hand painted goldkalis giving it the grandeur and aplomb of a Klimt painting.

Loyalist, be not afraid, there are the usual trappings of a TarunTahiliani collection. The sombre Whites, sophisticated in the summer sun and the sensual Blacks. Kalidarkurtas, kedeo tops in sedate, muted tones against the harsh weather break the monochrome monotony. Mughal influences in resham, classic chikankari and craftsmanship prove that the time intensive, labour intensive, regal sensibilities of the brand are not being left behind. The identity is being reshaped to reflect the zeitgeist as fashion and art collide.

 

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