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Tarun Tahiliani: In Praise of the Indian Woman

Chitra Sanam

Caught in the wrong body! You’d be lying if you’d say that the thought never crossed your mind, especially when you stop still for umpteen minutes staring into your closet figuring out what to wear.

Better still, remember those times when you spend hours at the mall shopping for the right pair of pants that fit without a single crease? Added to that the likes of Kareena Kapoor who’ve been uber-successful in shrinking to a size zero, and the obsession for skinny legs and a waif-like presence seems a healthy craving.
What surprises us, though, is top tier couturier Tarun Tahiliani’s perception of the Indian woman. He says, “There’s no other woman in the world, I think, who can wear, as you can look around, a sari, salwar kameez, lehengas, hot pants, dresses... they can wear everything. It’s just amazing.” Now that makes one wonder if he’s aware of the everyday girl next door who’s definitely not getting skinnier by the day, and struggles to keep from piling on extra kilos, and peeling on those petite, chic outfits.

Skinny or voluptuous?

The affable designer, who’s weaved magic into the lives of princesses, super models, stars and celebs, however says, “Sadly, that’s a western thing that’s come here and fashion magazines have either endorsed it, or reinforced it... Because in our Indian aesthetic, the Indian woman’s body is more beautiful voluptuous. But it’s a transitional phase; the world will go back to loving themselves the way they are.”

But how does one love oneself right now, while we wait for the world to change, to go back to loving themselves the way they are? “That has everything to do with your intelligence,” adds Tahiliani matter-of-factly.

Make note of this revelation too by Tarun Tahiliani, as in the eyes of the ace stylist of India, “The sari doesn’t compliment a model’s frail frame.” For once there’s something a model can’t ‘fit into!’
“In our Indian aesthetic, the Indian woman’s body is more beautiful voluptuous,” he concludes.

The personal take

For someone with an MBA from the highly esteemed Wharton Business School, and having chartered his career aspirations in his family business, and then to give it all up for couture fashion, surely gives a peek into the designer’s spry persona. We hear his model wife has been a huge inspiration. The two met in college and love blossomed. “Our parents were mortified, but we didn’t care. My wife’s from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Of course she grew up in the US and that’s where we met,” he shares.


A paean for the Indian woman

On that personal note regarding his wife, it’s interesting to tune into his understanding of the Indian woman of today, as she’s going great places, while she continues to be the muse for the fashion industry. She’s constantly evolving into a more and more complex species.

“Indian women have always been very complex because of the demands made on them, in a good way. I don’t mean that in a bad way. But now their demands are enormous so they have to be more complex to deal with that,” he concludes.
Tarun Tahiliani is an ace couturier whose designer clothing adorn some of the world’s most famous celebrities.

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