Designing clothes for theatre is very different from fashion: Tarun Tahiliani

  • Arundhati Chatterjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: May 09, 2014 16:20 IST

Fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani. (Photo courtesy: Facebook)

After dressing top Bollywood actors and several celebrities, ace designer Tarun Tahiliani is trying his hand at something new — designing costumes for the period drama, Three Women, which premieres in Mumbai this weekend. We ask him about the project.

Since this is your first association with theatre, what was the key factor that you kept in mind while designing?
I always contributed to theatre when I was in school. The costumes of this play are very simple. What had to be emphasised upon is that the play shows the transition of Bengal from 150 years ago to contemporary society, with a twist.

How different is designing for the stage from creating for the ramp?
Designing clothes for theatre is very different from fashion. Fashion reflects the sensibility of the designer and mirrors a social movement, whereas a play or a film must showcase the period for the characters involved. Both are very different occupations.

Since the play travels across two different periods, what kind of transition in costumes will the audience get to see?
The sari drapes, the puff- sleeved blouses, the use of cotton and woven fabrics portray the dusky, sultry but independent-minded women of 19th century Bengal. The costumes define the characters in the play and give shape to each personality. Since there are two generations involved, the costumes had to be styled to straddle women’s issues across generations. The play addresses issues of women’s individuality, freedom and gender empowerment from a modern-day perspective. Thus, the reds, creams and off-whites are reminiscent of the earthy Bengali women of the era.

How was the experience? Are there any more theatre projects in the pipeline?
It was not an extravagant project. Once in a while, it is fun to do something simple, but I don’t have any plans to design for theatre in the near future.


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