At Art Mumbai Fair, Tarun Tahiliani releases his book Tarun Tahiliani: Journey To India Modern.

Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai was in for a bizarre surprise. There were several full wooden benches and throngs of people waiting for the action to start behind them. The first commotion was caused by a couple of artists dressed as monkeys, who caught the audience off guard. This was unlike any concert we had seen. And then entered the phantasmal Mehr Jesia. At different points during the tableau, the models were accompanied by dhol artists, huge puppets, stilt walkers, Kathakali and Kathiawari dancers, and Chhau dancers.

Later in the evening, everyone dressed in Tarun Tahiliani recreated a live leafing through of his coffee-table book, Tarun Tahiliani: Journey To India Modern, which was launched at Art Mumbai Fair. A voyage into TT’s thoughts and the creation of the brand as we know it now, its 300-odd pages were loaded with nostalgia. The pages with golden edges had sophisticated design, astounding simplicity, endearing romanticism, and cool elegance. His works from the late 1980s and early 1990s were incredibly innovative for their time and still have a strong romantic undertone.

Co-written by Tarun Tahiliani and Alia Allana, it was priced at Rs 5,995 and released by Roli Books in India and Thames & Hudson worldwide. Tarun’s nearly three decades of memories were included in the book. Tarun Tahiliani was born into a family consisting of Chief Naval Staff Admiral R.H. Tahiliani and Jaswanti Tahiliani, one of the first female engineers in Maharashtra. She attended Doon School, Wharton Business School, and Fashion Institute of Technology. In 1987, she and her wife Sailaja co-founded Ensemble, a renowned multi-designer store in Mumbai.

The book told the beautiful story of how Tarun gradually incorporated Indian crafts into his design language. We learned that he painted and made a living selling oil field equipment. In 1994, Tarun staged his first solo exhibition in London. The following year, 1995, he moved to Delhi and started his own label. The book honored his landmark collections as well as his distinguishing style elements, which included corsets, concept saris, and chikankari, among others. Most useful was a glossary of words explaining the many crafts and arts.

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