New Delhi, Feb 19: The glamour may be intact but the multiplicity of fashion events has diluted the seriousness of the business, says veteran designer Tarun Tahiliani, who believes that too many people are putting up shows “that are very badly organised”.
“I don’t think we have lost the glamour (of fashion weeks). What has happened is that too many people have started doing too many (fashion-based) things. The fashion week in Paris still has charm because they (the French) are very strict about it and they organise it very beautifully,” Tahiliani told IANS in an interview.
The designer, who has over two decades of experience here, showcases regularly at the Wills India Fashion Week (WIFW), organised by India’s apex fashion body Fashion Development Council of India (FDCI), of which he is an active member.
Apart from WIFW and Lakme Fashion Week – two of the biggest fashion extravaganzas – there is Chennai Fashion Week, Bangalore Fashion Week, Hyderabad Fashion Week, Kolkata Fashion Week, India International Fashion Week, Jaipur Fashion Week, Pune Fashion Week, the India International Jewellery Week, the India Resort Fashion Week, Shillong Fashion Week and India Kids Fashion Week.
Also, there are many wedding expositions that have flourished over the years.
The over 15 major fashion events across the country are fuelling the growth of the Rs.700 crore- plus designer wear market in the country.
Where then exactly is the problem?
“The problem here is that we give hundreds of people the chance to showcase their collections and many people are doing many shows that are very badly organised.
“Glamour comes from the actual event! If we don’t make that a focus, then everything loses its sheen. Fashion events need to be sensibly and properly executed,” said the 50-year-old, known for his mix of couture, diffusion and pret collections, which are Indian in their sensibility and yet international in their appeal.
Tahiliani started his professional career with a degree in business management from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, and opened India’s first multi-designer boutique Ensemble in 1987.
His first solo show was held in September 1994 at the Dorchester Hotel in London. He has since shown countless collections in India and around the world.
In September 2003, Tahiliani was the first Indian designer invited to showcase his work at the prestigious Milan Fashion Week and has since shown collections in New York, London, Milan, Tokyo, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Moscow, South Africa and Karachi.
The designer recently launched his second flagship outlet in the capital. The store is inspired by ancient heritage homes and encapsulates some of his signature dresses, with accessible price tags. The high point of the store is the spring-summer 2013 collection, starting from Rs.3,999 for the ready-to-wear and going up to Rs.60,000 for occasion wear.
Is this an attempt to be more accessible to the fashion conscious masses?
“No, it is very much a luxury space! It’s not mass market at all. It is just that we have many designs that are more accessible. We are trying to give customers value for money with more options. Honestly, with the kind of fabrics and techniques we use, it’s not mass market production.
“We do certain products that can be considered mass market when we have our licensed project. We do certain things and anyone can buy – like recently, I did my watch collection, which is much more accessible,” said the designer, who had recently tied up with watch brand Timex for a bespoke collection.
His next apparel collection is inspired by the Kumbh Mela (in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh), which he visited in January. He wants to focus on the art of draping.
“I love draping. However, nowadays since we are lost in western clothing, we drape less. I have always loved the thought of using drape techniques in my clothes. I went to the Kumbh Mela to see how sadhus and fakirs drape, and it was stunning. We are already working on an ethnic collection on those lines,” said Tahiliani, who has styled some of Bollywood’s best like Shilpa Shetty and Sonam Kapoor as well as the likes of international pop superstar Lady Gaga.
(Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)