The Indian fashion designer turned carpet savant

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11 Jul '21

Pivoting his multi-decade run in fashion design to home decor, Tarun Tahiliani explores India's rich history to present the picture of a more modern future.

Author

Suneela Kirloskar

Tarun Tahiliani, called the “Karl Lagerfield of India” is synonymous with Indian luxury, and more specifically, bridal couture. Crafting the most decadent designs with a modern twist through gorgeous Indian embroideries coupled with modern silhouettes, he broke away from traditional Indian rules of style to create his own aesthetic.

Tahiliani is a veteran in the Indian fashion and design world, and has been in the industry for the past 30 years. When it comes to being a true connoisseur of Indian craft, he is the definition. In every collection, he has paid homage to his Indian roots and if there was ever a poster boy for the “Made in India” tagline, it would be him.

When art meets design

It seems only fitting that a man with such a profound knowledge and pride of Indian heritage and craftsmanship doesn’t limit himself simply to clothing. Tahiliani's collaboration with Obeetee, the 120 year old rug company based in north India, creates handmade carpets intricately spelling ‘India’ throughout each piece. The collaboration was aptly called ‘Proud to be Indian’, and had 18 limited edition rugs. Deigning three different collections - The Chikankari Collection, The Abstract Art Collection and Antique Frames Collection – the designs have been influenced by Tahiliani’s adoration of Mughal miniature paintings as well as the chikankari embroidery from Lucknow – an intricate and heavily detailed technique.

For the Abstract Art Collection, Tahiliani set the patterns against geometric lines and distressed borders to depict a modern India within the carpets. By use of layering and the creation of unique texture for this collection, the intricacy and sophistication of the carpets were shown through beautiful colours and flowing patterns.

The history, drama and romance of Mughal India are evident in the Antique Frames collection. Using intricate Mughal designs in the form of floral and fauna motifs, Persian script, and colours associated with Indian royalty – sumptuous burgundy and green, coupled with golden borders – Tahiliani brings the wonder of rich Indian history and its courts into the home.

Delicate floral motifs pay homage to the famous chikan embroidery from Lucknow in the Chikankari Collection. Passed down through generations of Lucknawi artisans, the embroidery is said to be a symbol of nobility among the Nawabs of Mughal India and became a favourite in Jahangir's court.

All of Tahiliani’s carpets are made of the finest wool and silk with 150 hand tied-knots per square inch and incorporate a form of ornamentation known as “Kasab”, that uses gold and silver threads. This method was said to be brought to India by the Persians. Tahiliani aims to introduce the world to the more modern, understated, yet luxurious Indian ways through his carpets while reflecting upon India's rich past. If one is looking to incorporate incredible art in a fresh new style, Tahiliani’s carpets are sure to deliver.

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