Foreword: I used to have a photography business: symbolphoto.com or view: https://www.flickr.com/photos/symbolphotography/
Every once in a while you have to throw your expectations and preconceived notions right out the window…
After returning from Jaipur we were contacted about setting up a shoot in Delhi. After making some calls, we had a model, an amazing dress manufacturer and a location set. Everyone who has experience in all things India knows that you need a plan B and oftentimes even a plan C. So I made sure to have plan D to ensure things went off without a hitch.
We blew through plan A and B in the first 15 minutes. Plan C involved a little bribery with the police and long periods of waiting, but we finally got through the shoot. Tarun Tahiliani gave us two of his latest dresses for us to incorporate into our shoot and we were let loose around Delhi to use them as we saw fit. Each dress was extremely heavy when held only in your hands, though once on the model, she confirmed that it was bearable since the weight was distributed throughout the body.
Shooting on the street in India isn’t as hard as it may seem at first, we have experience dealing with all sorts of incidentals. But shooting in the middle of Delhi on a busy weekday can test the patience of any seasoned photographer. Luckily, we over-prepared.
After the shoot, we returned to the Tarun Tahiliani factory and that’s where our expectations were blown away. Tarun Tahiliani’s factory is in a very unassuming location outside Delhi. The preconceived notions i had were that we’d enter some musty factory filled with underpaid and overworked employees.
More wrong – i could not be. Not only was the factory awesome in its layout (Think the underground bunker in James Bonds’ Skyfall), but it also was also orderly and full of life. The workers are hand-picked from university design backgrounds and/or descendants of a bygone era where generations of specialist seamstresses perfected their craft. I was surprised to find out that Tarun himself comes to his office every day. Many fashion designers reside in some vacation retreat and watch their bank accounts grow, not Tarun.
Tarun not only is in daily attendance at the factory, but he also has his hand in everything. And i do mean everything. Each swatch of material, each employee, each meeting, he’s there and active. We got to see him in action at one of his meetings and instead of seeing a bunch of impotent employees amongst Tarun at his huge conference table, they were all actually laughing and seemingly having a great time. Another unexpected surprise.
Overall it was an eye-opening experience on many fronts. Enjoy the fruits of our labor! …
Here is one of the seamstresses that Tarun Tahiliani employs. We were told he’s a third generation seamstress that specializes in silk work. One thing you notice is that everyone has a specialty. Nobody is a jack-of-all-trades here.
The awesome WWII era looking bunker type layout. Notice the cleanliness of the factory floor. I wonder if either was influenced by his father’s military background.
Intricate beading work.
Sameer is also a third generation seamstress that specialized in edge work.
Here is where the process starts. Tarun’s and his stylists get inspired by something, they concept the design in drawings, those drawings turn into larger drawings for patterns and material swatches and then Tarun has to approve each and every design. Not bad, not bad at all.
Here you can see a swatch and it’s preparation for being used in a panel.
The pattern drawers. Again, another specialty.
Here is where the designer/stylists sit. This is where they gather inspiration and turn that inspiration into products. Fascinating to see something from inspiration, concept, design to final product.
The only people to visit this room are Bollywood stars and I assume extremely well-heeled daughters of business tycoons. 🙂 But seriously, this is the boutique portion of the facility. This is where VIP’s come to customize a dress and ensure their fitting is absolutely perfect. I’m not allowed to say how much the dress in the middle here costs, but let’s just say that you could trade it for a BMW or Mercedes no problem. All of Tarun’s most exclusive designs are held here. I can just imagine how special a bride must feel when they have the whole boutique to themselves and the undivided attention of some of the best designers in the industry…
You can customize down to each and every jewel. Insanity!
The guys aren’t left out, he has eye-catching designs for men as well.
Tarun’s desk and office. Very modest and the retreat of a hard working individual. I have much admiration and respect for the man.
And that was the end of our Delhi Bridal Fashion Shoot.