The world of fashion and designing is boundless. There are fashion designers, fashion artisans, fashion conceptualists, fashion narrators and then there’s Tarun Tahiliani, truly in a class of his own. Tarun was born in the Indian city of Mumbai but was never really brought up at his birthplace. His father was an officer of the Indian Navy, because of which he and his entire family were posted to various locations all throughout India.
On the academic front, Tarun had a pretty eventful life. After completion of schooling, he got accepted to the prestigious St. Stephen's College in Delhi as an honours student, quite unaware of the creative streak within him. It wasn’t long before he realised that he did not find his subjects challenging enough. So, in the quest to find his true calling, Tahiliani packed his bags and flew to the US, where he graduated in economics from the Vassar College, New York and subsequently went on to obtain a degree in the field of Business Management from the University of Pennsylvania.
Apart from his scholastic dilemma, life also put him through quite an emotional trial when he lost his mother to cancer at a young age. Nevertheless, after having come to terms with his grief, Tarun decided to move forward with a new found motivation to become someone that his mother would have been proud of, and thus began his awe inspiring journey from an indecisive young man to the design prodigy that he is today.
After returning to India post his graduation, he couldn't help but be astonished by the immense potential in the couture and fine clothing industry of the country. In the year 1987, he initiated India’s very first multi-designer fashion boutique called ‘Ensemble’ in Mumbai, which featured the works of prominent designers such as Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla, Rohit Khosla, and also American fashion designer Neil Bieff , thus evoking a fashion retail revolution in the nation. Brimming with creative ideas but lacking the technical know-how of garment designing, Tarun decided to pursue an associative degree in Fashion Designing from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
After his homecoming, he shifted his business to Delhi. His design career was awarded with quite a popularity boost in 1995, when British heiress Jemima Khan wore one of his outfits for her wedding. That was the first time people actually stood up and took notice of this immensely talented, fashion debutant.
In September 2003, Tarun became the first ever Indian designer invited to showcase his work at the prestigious Milan Fashion Week. Thereon his collections have also featured in New York, Moscow, Dubai, Milan, Tokyo and the like. In successive years, he was awarded the Fashion Tribute Award for Designer of the Year for India and was also invited to represent the country in Hong Kong. He was also honoured with the award for Best Woman’s Designer for Couture, which also earned him a spot on the governing body of India’s official fashion week.
He currently owns boutiques not only across big Indian cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, and Hyderabad but also has his garments adorning the shelves of boutiques in the United States, Middle East, Japan, as well as Australia.
All of Tahiliani’s designs boast of mind-boggling textile detail, meticulous tailoring and enhanced luxury. His garments which are Indian in their sensibility reflect an impressive infusion of Indian textile and craftsmanship with an international appeal, a combination which no one could pull off better than him.
Over the years, he has also received acclaim for his collection of bridal wear and fashion accessories. His creativity truly knows no bounds, and he has recently stepped forth in a diverse field of design including designing interiors for hotels and restaurants. He has gained unfathomable success in a field which isn’t even remotely associated to the subjects he had initially opted to study in college. Trials and tribulations of life notwithstanding, Tarun Tahiliani indeed turned out to be a diamond in the rough.