Tanieya Khanuja comes to Chennai with a collection that’s global in its appeal
“Can I have a tablet for airsickness?” Pause. “Can I have a bottle of water? Room temperature.” Pause. My interview with Tanieya Khanuja happens before she boards the flight from New Delhi to Chennai, where she is to unveil a collection of prêt, diffusion and couture creations. “When I’m in Chennai, I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of the promotion, and so can we do the interview right now,” she asks.
As someone who straddles two worlds (New Delhi and London) with seamless ease, Tanieya is extremely time-conscious. We switch to interview mode immediately despite the announcements at the airport interrupting the flow. Here’s a quick five…
FASHIONABLE BEGINNING My mother was a pioneer in taking Indian clothing to the West. She used to supply ethnic garments to fashion houses in London way back in the 1980s. She also designs clothes and markets them there. Her label Teja is known for its intricate Indian touches. I studied at NIFT in New Delhi and then moved to London College of Fashion. I helped my mother before launching my own eponymous label in 1998. Marriage brought me back to New Delhi. It is two years since I entered the fashion scene in India.
WHAT’S NEW? For Chennai, I’ve created a line of prêt, diffusion and couture styles. They are very easy to wear and come in rich and light fabrics. The prêt range is particularly versatile and can be teamed and worn any which way you please to make interesting statements. There are gowns and easy-to-wear-and-carry-off concept saris. Just zip them up and you are ready with pre-set pleats and fine drape. I’ve used a lot of delicate lace work and also chikankari.
WHAT SPURS ME Colours and subtle needlework. It’s a huge challenge to create something new season after season. But designers are creative artists. Something or the other comes up and you get inspired. Even the fact that clients come back to you expecting something new is a big motivation.
MY USP Though I straddle two worlds, my sensibility is one — global. My look is contemporary. Today, when a particular look is shown even at a private runway in Milan it goes global — almost instantly. Such is the power of the media and social networking sites. Clients too are discerning and have individualistic tastes. I work within acceptable parameters. I don’t go over-the-top with my designs. India continues to be in fashion. So I do incorporate a hint of Indian sensibility in my global look.
DANCING AND DE-STRESS I love hitting the dance floor. It’s my favourite pastime. To me, it’s the ultimate form of chilling out. You feel relaxed and rejuvenated after shaking a leg on the dance floor. When I can’t go out, I jump onto my cot and dance with my kids. They often ask me, “Ma, are you crazy?”
(Tanieya Khanuja unveils her collection at Studio Saks, Goplalpuram, today.)