Fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani will bring his latest couture collection to Mumbai, and showcase it at an unlikely spot.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya or the Prince of Wales Museum as it is better known, will be treated to a display of 24 mannequins, all wearing Tahiliani’s signature couture garments, paired with exclusive diamond jewellery from the Forevermark group.
Despite having his own high-end fashion store, Ensemble, in the city, Tahiliani decided that the limited space wouldn’t do justice to his work. “Given the number of mannequins, even if we had 10 clients in the store, they’d be falling all over each other,” he says, adding, “Besides, we’ve been given permission to show in the beautiful Coomaraswamy Hall. The museum has an old world feel to it and I wanted a location steeped in history.”Tahiliani adds that the authorities gave him a couple of days to set up his exposition, though he insists he’s eschewed his signature opulent sets, in favour of simple décor. "I wanted the focus to be on the beautiful clothes and jewellery," he remarks.
This is probably the first time a contemporary designer has showcased clothes inside a museum. Tahiliani comments on the possibility of Indian museums curating a designer’s work, as is the case in countries like the US and France: “I think museums should be interested in living art. It would be refreshing to have designers’ work displayed, though that’s not why I chose this location.”
Given that Indian couture work is mostly about bridal trousseaus, Tahiliani outlines the difference between brides from different parts of the country. “Mumbai brides tend to be more cosmopolitan, since they come from different parts of the country. Delhi brides are most extravagant, especially the ones who come from new money. I have a lot of customers who come from places like Kolkata and other smaller cities. They tend to be conservative.”
And what would he like as his legacy to bridal wear? He answers, “I introduced couture garments that brides can dance in. Instead of having to sit in one place because they’re being weighed down by their lehengas.”