Exclusive: Designer Tarun Tahiliani on his S/S21 collection and the Aditya Birla deal
An exclusive chat with the celebrated designer
Ace designer Tarun Tahiliani, has just launched his Spring/Summer 2021 collection, Timelessness. It is a reflection of long and elaborate Indian weddings and comprises lightweight lehengas, shararas, peplum blouses, concept saris, newly structured drapes and anarkalis across the bespoke bridal-wear, occasion-wear and ready-to-wear lines. Speaking about the collection, Tarun says, “Persian jaali in monuments has always been of great inspiration to me and I love to find ways to incorporate it in my design work. This season I have used laser-cut jaalis in 3-4 tones on light silk, accentuated with kasab and kundan and the use of precisely cut gota, not only to ensure the sumptuousness of these techniques but also to maintain lightness in the final garment.”
The launch comes on the back of the announcement of the designer’s association with Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL). Tarun talks to us about the deal, his new venture and what it means for his brand, in an exclusive exchange:
What was it that made you take this opportunity forward?
It’s like yin and yang. While fundamentally this venture has been designed to carry my sensibilities and experience with the make, fit and structure; given the sheer scale of what we have set out to achieve, everything will have to be sourced differently, made differently and therefore, needed an economy of production from a giant that knows how to accommodate that – which is what ABFRL handles incredibly. I have tried to offer affordable options under Tarun Tahiliani previously but the positioning needed a lot more guidance and support, perhaps. But this new venture will house those wishes because of expertise on distribution that the Aditya Birla group comes with. And I am extremely honored to be collaborating with them.
As a well-established company, in what ways do you think an association like this will be beneficial to you?
Any kind of financial partnership or association always ends up opening new possibilities that your current business model couldn’t accommodate. Which is why I couldn’t be happier about entering into this partnership with Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail, Ltd. because they are just fantastic. They understand scale and numbers like no one else in the market today and each of their homegrown brands is a resounding success. I would be delighted if this collaboration would enable the reach to that kind of scale. I have always had great respect for Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla. My engagements with him over the last 2 years have taught me so much; especially his attention to detail. And, since I have never worked with anybody or in any serious corporate structure before, this collaboration has been a huge eye-opener and a joy for me. I love that I come to work every day to learn. With them managing the distribution, I think that this partnership has brought me a lot of freedom creatively to work on both, the new venture and the existing brand.
Tell us a little bit more about the menswear label that you’ll be launching with the Aditya Birla group. How will it be different from the Tarun Tahiliani label?
The new menswear label is targeted for a larger consumer base where we will be offering great quality at a premium to bridge price point because I feel like there is a large section of consumer that is underserviced at the moment. Meanwhile, the current Tarun Tahiliani brand will continue to do high-end luxury. There seems to little differentiation in the branded men’s premium spaces. Everything looks like everything. There is very little in the way of simple, beautifully cut and beautifully made pieces that I feel a lot of Indian men want today. So, to keep pace with the evolving needs of a modern consumer, we wanted to bring more experience and options to our target consumer because we feel they, along with Indian fashion, are ready for this scale up. Men have always had to choose from very little in the market anyway, so we want to make sure that their experience is integrated with more options, better quality, varied picks and much more.
In terms of design, aesthetic and craft, will we be seeing anything new as a result of this
Well, in principle, the new venture will have the classic Tarun Tahiliani fit, attention to form, play of colors, etc but we will have to accommodate it to the scale of the task that we have undertaken. With a very tight price grid, there will be great quality but through different fabric. There might be more prints, play of technology and instead of the heavy embroidery, there will be intricate threadwork. We are also reinventing our techniques internally so that we can fit them into the price point we hope to promise in all different ranges. There are some incredible fabrics being made that are both light and breathable, so we are working towards sourcing them for the same. Of course working with the ABFRL arsenal has great advantages and insights on this.