He stands tall as one of the country’s foremost designers with his unique design sensibilities and celebrity clientele. But ensembles in black and cream rule Tahiliani’s personal style, which is all about bundis, a quilted sleeveless jacket.
“My clothes are all about black or cream all the time as I believe black hides dirt and helps you in looking slim. It doesn’t look crushed like light colors do. Also, I work for very long hours at different places; so I need easy and functionable clothes,” Tahiliani told IANS in a candid chat.
He dresses socialites, celebrities and a whole range of clientele from all walks of life. But it is also vital for him to be prim and proper at all times.
“My own stretched linen trousers, linen shirts in black and ivories are the must-haves in my wardrobe. Also, I live with bundis as that works in both summer and winter. I think it also gives you a formal look apart from being comfortable.
“A bundi can go well with both Indian and western look and I like clothes that can work with anything. That’s my style,” said Tahiliani, who also owns different kinds of shoes from Italian fashion label Prada.
“I love them,” said Tahiliani, who 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.
When he shops for himself, he doesn’t just run after high-end brands.
“I shop from everywhere and everything. I’m not a brand person. I only like brands if they are of great quality. For instance, my shoes are always Prada and my other things are tailored by myself, which I guess is a brand!
“But I like Fabindia (the flagship store for Indian handloom textiles and apparel) too,” said the designer, whose own designs are a fusion of textile detail, refined luxury, and meticulous tailoring.
People’s opinion doesn’t influence Tahiliani’s fashion choices.
“I wear simple things… I wear chappals at the beach of Thailand and I don’t care what people think! If I love it, I don’t care. I have cheap $100 watches and I have a watch by Cartier (French luxury jewellery and watch manufacturer) too. My mantra of life is to wear what you like,” he added.
What about his favourite shopping destination?
“I never go shopping in India, except for antiques, which I love. Abroad, I always shop in Milan or New York,” said Tahiliani, who has shown countless collections at home and around the world at destinations like Milan, New York, Tokyo, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Moscow and Karachi.
For several people, luxury may mean splurging on high-end brands, but Tahiliani has a different notion.
“Luxury is the choice of having and living the life I want to and it can be anything. I just found an itra in Lucknow that smells like first rain, and it was so beautiful that I decided to stop using the western cologne and go for the little bottle, which just cost me Rs. 200. That’s luxury for me,” he said.
Recently, he gave the capital’s fashionistas a taste of luxury with his annual Couture Exposition, which was in its fifth edition. The fashion event will also be held in Mumbai Aug 2-3.