OVER THE 30-year-span of his designing career, Tarun Tahiliani has staked a claim to the title of “Czar of Couture”, and in the nearly nine years since he established himself as an independent creative force, designer Amit Aggarwal has proven his credentials as an apparel alchemist with a penchant for experimentation. So, when the one-time mentor and protege join hands to present an Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) finale collection for the Autumn-Winter 2017 edition, one wouldn’t expect anything less than a masterclass in innovation and drapery — hallmarks of their labels.
As part of the Guru Shishya series, that saw JJ Valaya and designer duo Alpana Mittal and Neeraj Chauhan present a tandem finale last season, this fall-winter edition will see Tahiliani and Aggarwal collaborate to create collections encapsulating Amazon Fashion’s ‘Fresh New Look’ campaign. In a grand finale with the theme “Rule Every Moment” slated for March 18, the duo will showcase their designs on over 70 models.
“Our interpretation of the theme is about a new outlook of the woman of today. Her choices, her vision are the examples she sets for her generation of people,” says Aggarwal.
And while the ‘India Modern’ idea remains their touchstone, Aggarwal’s label with its strong sustainability strengths, will incorporate Patan patola and Banarasi brocade saris as textiles in the collection. Tahiliani’s emphasis on relatable ready-to-wear clothing will take centrestage, as he presents his take on contemporary Indianwear. “Pret was the original premise of fashion weeks and I’ll be doing a line of clothes that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the occasion. This is not strictly bridal wear, but clothes that can be worn to a wedding,” says Tahiliani.
Winter prints like florals, geometrics and hand-painted motifs developed in-house will meet fabrics such as charmeuse, georgette, chanderi and textures like tulle overlaid with braids and laces in his line. “We’ve done chikankari on prints, tone-on-tone prints that look like damask,” he says. “The collection is a mix of traditional and modern silhouettes. Metallic contemporary patterns merge with traditional Indian craftsmanship as embellishment in bespoke couture and ready-to-wear outfits from both the design studios,” says Aggarwal.
And sharing the stage with his mentor is not an honour the young designer takes lightly. “Working with Tarun was one huge learning experience. Apart from making beautiful couture, he is someone I have learnt a lot from, like amazing work ethics, compassion towards the whole team and the love for making clothes,” he says. For Tahiliani, too, the experience has been an enriching one. “Amit is a bright talent and a wonderful designer, someone whose work I admire. I’ve learnt a lot from him too over the years,” he says.
Apart from their mutual admiration, a design device the two share in common is their love for draping, which will from a focal point for their collections. “We both love draping, latticing, fluting, ruching and gathering fabrics to create textures. I love Amit’s sari drapes, which are Origami-esque and more structured. Mine, on the other hand, are softer, more Indian and classical. So, it’ll be interesting to see if we can showcase our individual styles separately or overlap them,” says Tahiliani. “Drapery has been an integral part of this collaborative project. Of course, we have tried to play with its movement and density according to our own aesthetics. It’s a mix of very current and ancient drapes developed through various outfits worked upon as a teamwork between Tarun and I,” adds Aggarwal.