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Updated: July 13, 2012 20:06 IST

Couture call

Shalini Shah
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Looking at the bride side...This year will be the fourth year of Tahiliani's couture event.
Looking at the bride side...This year will be the fourth year of Tahiliani's couture event.

The Tarun Tahiliani Couture Exhibition will be set to the theme of the jewel box this year

The bride’s invited, of course. But so is her entourage. And that’s why Tarun Tahilini’s annual wedding showcase event has now been christened ‘Tarun Tahiliani Couture Exposition’ as opposed to ‘Tarun Tahiliani Bridal Couture Exposition’ of the earlier years.

“Bridal connotes just what the bride wears. Here, there are some beautiful things for other people as well. Of course, everyone knows that when I do a couture exposition the focus is bridal…” Tahiliani explains. The fact remains that in India non-wedding couture is more of a concept than reality.

To be held at DLF Emporio in New Delhi later this month — July 25 to 28, to be exact — the jewel box is the theme for this year’s Exposition. (The year before last saw it based on the wedding procession, while artisans were the focus in 2011’s theme, ‘Artisanal – Bringing the Artisan to the Fore.’) The event will then travel to Mehboob Studios in Mumbai (August 7 and 8).

Literally interpreted, the ‘jewel boxes’ here will be the glass boxes created by Asahi Glass India, better known for working with cars and windscreens than couture. “It’s a bit architectural — you see different kinds of glass, the glass disappears, the model appears, and so on,” says the designer about the sets.

This is the Exposition’s fourth edition, with the designer defiantly organising his own standalone event every year instead of participating in the FDCI-organised Couture Week that is usually held around the same time, despite being associated with Indian fashion’s governing body through participation in FDCI’s prêt weeks. (FDCI’s couture week is likely to kick off in the second week of August this year.) There has been one time when he had guests and press running between Emporio and The Grand located nearby, as the latter venue was playing host to couture week.

Is he happy with how things have been shaping up with the event?

“When we did it the first year it was a very small, very theatrical production. Also, we did it only in Delhi; that’s why it wasn’t getting repeated, so we were fine. Then last year we went to Delhi and three other cities (Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad). But this year is, by far, the most ambitious… I think it’s all come together very beautifully. We’ve really given it our all. It’s much more edited and controlled,” Tahiliani says.

Coming to what drives it all, the clothes, the designer says it’s a colour palette that’s “totally different” from everything he’s done so far. Shades of cream, beige and black lead to teals, jades and wines this time. “The embroidery is rich, but at the same time it’s very subtle and light,” he says. “I think one of the reasons people come to me is for the way we cut and fit. They always tell me, ‘We always bless you because we can dance through the night and have fun,’ because everyone knows many horror stories of clothes being so heavy that people end up with migraines… I don’t believe in doing that, I’ve never done it.” Silhouette-wise, there are keyhole jackets with lehengas, evening gowns (“Because now brides want to wear gowns for the cocktail or engagement or reception”), saris (including conventional and innovative drapes). “So I think it’s become much more comprehensive and challenged us to go out where we find a new expression for clothes, which is good fun. The fact for me is I’m in a creative industry; this is the part I have to do. But it’s still good…”

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