The Mumbai born Tarun Tahiliani is India’s answer to Karl Lagerfeld. He is famous in the Indian fashion industry for his couture bridal gowns. After completing his primary education from Doon Boarding School, Dehradun in 1980, Tarun joined from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi. He went to the US for higher studies and graduated from Vassar University in New York in Economics. He finished his masters in business administration from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. The Indian fashion designer has gained recognition throughout the years for designing Indian influenced rich and opulent apparel in combination with modern western silhouettes.
He was studying in the US when he met his future wife Sailaja who was also studying economics at the University of Pennsylvania. She had quite a short lived modeling career where she even modeled for Pierre Cardin once. The couple was joined in holy matrimony soon after Tarun’s return to India. He joined the family business of oil field equipments as soon as he returned from abroad but his fate was to become a fashion designer. He came to a realization that there was an enormous scope in the designer wear sector of India. In 1987, Tarun’s first multi designer store, Ensemble opened in the city of Mumbai with designer Rohit Khosla’s help. The store was home to his own label Ahilian along with five other designers Anuradha Mafatlal, Sandeep Khosla, Neil Bieff, Abu Jani, Rohit Khosla and Anita Shivdasani and Sunita Kapoor’s joint venture label Anaya. The store was an instant success and Tarun, still untrained, started designing his own line but that changed when he went study at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology in 1991. Upon his return, his business was relocated to Delhi.
Tarun Tahiliani rose to fame in 1995 when Jemima Khan wore his outfit for her wedding with Pakistani cricketer, Imran Khan. Ensemble today is about 25 years old, co-owned by Tarun’s sister Tina Tahiliani Parikh who joined the business in 1990; with stores located in both cities of Mumbai and Delhi. Although Tahiliani is known as a versatile designer producing a number of lines including accessories, diffusion and prêt-a-porter, he is best known for his bridal couture lines. He has drawn in potential customers since 2009 with his annual bridal expos held in various cities of India in association with brands like the World Gold Council and De Beers. Tarun’s designs are sold all around the globe today in high-end department stores of Australia, US, Japan and the Middle East.
With his work showcased internationally, from Milan to London; Tarun Tahiliani is also one of the founding member of India’s official fashion week governing body, Fashion Design Council of India. Tarun’s well known works which were also showcased at international fashion weeks throughout the world are ‘The Rubaiyat’ and ‘Kumbhback’. His collection, ‘Kumbhback’ was inspired by traditional Mahan Kumbh Mela which included outfits designed with an incredibly amazing color palette of sunset tones like amber, subtle rust, saffron, deep red with hues of aubergine, pink, blue and black. Tarun is also an active member of Save the Children India which urged the Indian government to raise the health budget up to three percent prior to the announcement of budget. He currently lives with his wife Sailaja at a Delhi farmhouse. He has two children Anand, 23 and Jahan, 21.