‘My vibe is not about the LBD or diamonds’: Tina Tahiliani Parikh

As Ensemble’s Kala Ghoda outlet relaunches this month, the store’s Executive Director Tina Tahiliani Parikh opens up on her three major design discoveries, personal style and if she’d ever start her own fashion line…

Tina Tahiliani Parikh, Executive Director Ensemble

How do you interpret your personal style?
I have a few basic rules. It has to be comfortable. It has to breathe. I love drapes and saris. I like white, beige and black but now I’ve started wearing a lot more colour. I love to mix and match. It has to feel right. Your style has to be a reflection of who you’re inside. This waistcoat (I have on) is literally from three years ago. I don’t think it’s about keeping up with the trends. It’s about finding pieces we love and mixing and matching old and new. Maybe with a ZARA t-shirt or a bracelet you pick on the street. My vibe is not about the LBD or diamonds.

Who are are your three favourite design discoveries in the last decade? 

My discoveries in the last decade is designer Anamika Khanna for her experimental Indo-Western silhouettes – capes, draped saris, etc. and Tarun Tahiliani for his digital prints with enhanced threadwork. Also, I love the re-interpretation of textiles and handlooms by designers like Sanjay Garg and Payal Khandwala.

Anamika Khanna and Tina Tahiliani - Parikh at the all new Ensemble Lions Gate Store

…With Anamika Khanna

How is the Delhi customer different from the Mumbai one?       
Both are very strong markets but Delhi is a city, where people have more space to show off, it’s a slight refugee mentality because the capital has been spoilt and rebuilt so many times. The whole of North India is more into flaunting but make no mistakes, old part of the city have exquisite tastes and they’re not really dying to flash designer brands. In Bombay, we have a cool buyers – they walk into our stores in chappals, but they’ll buy the highest quality. Often I feel our Bandra store is more like our Delhi store, South Bombay is like a place nowhere else in India. Bandra is much dynamic than South Mumbai. Because SoBo-ites are members of clubs and are not dying to meet new people. They can go to clubs and meets those 30 people they grew up with. In Bandra, people are dynamic and maybe that’s happening in Delhi too.

How come you never thought of starting your own label?
People have told me to. Let’s see, what the future has to offer.  At this point, it’s not on my radar.

Besides fashion, what are your other interests? 
I love music. Music can completely change my mood. I like theatre, I love tarvelling. I like to read. In the morning, I take a walk in the Hanging Gardens and I see those stunning trees, it makes my heart lift. I am very affected by my environment. As a family, we do a lot of nature holidays, in the beginning, I always wanted to do cities and my husband wanted to visit nature spots. However, that has changed today. We’ve done Everest base camp and Annapurna base camp. I also love Sri Lanka and Bali.

Warm up to the ‘it’ blouse of the moment

Designers across the board at the recently concluded India Couture Week couldn’t resist the allure of the embellished crop top with exposed shoulders. Manish Malhotra dressed his showstopper Deepika Padukone in one and Manav Gangwani‘s muse Kangana Ranaut too was seen rocking another one. Gaurav Gupta presented several crop tops with the off-shoulder style. Not that it’s a new trend (it’s been around for quite sometime on runways and racks) but looks like the fall weddings will be replete with this ‘it’ piece sightings.


Deepika Padukone in Manish Malhotra


Kangana Ranaut in Manav Gangwani


An off-shoulder look from Gaurav Gupta


An off-shoulder look from Gaurav Gupta

India Couture Week highlights

Designers Manish Malhotra and Rimple and Harpreet Narula were inspired by Persian architectural influences while Rahul Mishra, Gaurav Gupta, Varun Bahl and Manav Gangwani flirted with an array of bird and floral motifs. A panoply of peacocks and parrots preened on beds of roses, hibiscuses and lotuses across the style spectrum. Ornate headgears made quite an impact at Varun Bahl and Rohit Bal while the sexy, come-hither off-shoulder blouse emerged to be the ultimate ‘it’ piece seen on Deepika Padukone, who walked for Manish Malhotra and Kangana Ranaut, who played a muse to Manav Gangwani.

Anamika Khanna

Inspiration: Lewis Carol’s saying, “How long is forever? Sometimes just one second”





Viewing any Anamika Khanna show is a meditative process, an exercise in tuning into the sharp currents streaming though her sensibilities. Looking at the rich cultural past and recontextualising it and making it ‘of-the-moment’ has always been her forte. Easily one of the most riveting collections of the couture week, this time, she was extrapolated the traditional kalamkari and dori techniques creating powerful embroideries. There were 3 D petals in organza, traditional zardozi employed with the daintiest of pearls. She modernised the traditional shararas and her signature sari pants and capes made the same impact as they did when she first showcased them years ago. The beading and surface texturing was so strong that one could barely see the fabric and the inside of the garment was as beautiful as the outside. The statement-making Amrapali jewellery accented the ornate ensembles beautifully giving it another dimension.

Rahul Mishra

Inspiration: German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur (art forms of nature, 1989).




In a couture landscape inundated with blinding sequins, hyperventilating mirror works and cascading ruffles, it’s heartwarming to see a designer resensitise our minds to the first tranquil drops of rains falling on the parched earth and the mellifluous sonata of floral and fauna. This seminal line titled, Monsoon Diaries opened with a hand embroidered Kedia blouse and indigo khadi lehenga which set the mood for the rest of the show – a poetic flurry of Maheshwari silk dresses, silk chanderi jackets, bombers and cut-work Benarasi dresses. The multi-toned silk georgette sari paired with an embroidered jacket was one of the high-points of the show. The Rahul Mishra bride is firmly rooted to the past and yet tuned to the present. She’s not looking at arriving in life or trying to proving a point. She’s just timeless as she owns every room she walks into!

Varun Bahl

Inspiration: Vintage garden





Romantic florals, soft rococo pastels and a play of sheer and texture have always been the Varun Bahl insignia. This time a delectable creamy palette of ivory, pistachio, duck-egg blue, and pale pink to the bold tones of burgundy and midnight blue – evoked a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. A snapshot of an eccentric English high tea party serving macaroons and cakes instantly comes to mind.
There was a canny mix of luxe-lit baroque influences and tropical motifs. The line gloried thanks to strong embroidery and silken thread work. Nifty menswear pieces were the talking points of the show – from the heavily embroidered shawls accenting the sherwanis to tone-on-tone, head-to-toe-layering to vibrant kurtas paired with churidaars. The Varun Bahl groom and his entourage of groom’s men are the ultimate dandies and certainly not coy about going that extra mile when it comes to dressing up!

The Spring Summer 2017 staple

Bleach-patterned denims are trending

DSquared2 paired a skin-right with exaggerated lace-up boots, Gucci presented a cropped pair with a souvenir bomber jacket while exposing the socks. Miharayasuhiro showcased a head-to-toe bleached look layered over a striped t-shirt, Diesel Black Gold presented theirs with a black leather jacket. Palm Angels clubbed a pair with a zipper denim shirt. Looks like this trend will soon filter down to the high street labels like ZARA and H&M as well.

The bold shoulder is trending!

Broad shouldered suits are a major trend for SS17

For Spring Summer 2017, menswear designers focused on reshaping the shoulder shapes. From Balenciaga to Vivienne Westwood to E Tautz – broad shouldered pantsuits and jackets were seen dominating the runway. Like Cristóbal Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia seemed excited with the architecture of clothes. The label’s first menswear runway show this season stood out thanks to the attention paid to the shoulders.

Couture catch-up

Fall Winter 2016 collections seem drenched in fantasy, fairytales and drama.

If Fendi’s 90th anniversary was inspired by a 1914 fairytale book, Valentino offered tribute to William Shakespeare bringing to mind his iconic play some of them set in Rome and Venice. Christian Dior reinterpreted the iconic bar jacket and suit silhouette and presented them in an of-the-moment format. Chanel brought their backrooms into focus with Karl Lagerfeld taking a bow with the house’s petites mains, or “little hands”.

Inspiration: A 1914 book of fairy tales, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, illustrated by the Danish artist Kay Nielsen

Highlights: Perhaps the most talked-about couture show this season, for its 90th anniversary, the label secured the Trevi Fountain. There were mini squares of mink that took 1,200 work hours to stitch together mosaic-style reinterpreting a magical forest. Crocheted dresses were embroidered with long-hair mink and fringed leather and lace dresses were appliquéd with hand-extracted florals from sheared mink. Pouch bags and ankle boots added to the whimsical finish.

Inspiration: 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death

Highlights: Models looked like emperors, holy men and princelings from some of the Bard’s most celebrated works like Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The high-neck ruffled collars, latticeworked necklines stood out and so did golden, pearl-embroidered brocades; and taffeta capes. A pink chiffon and tulle dress exuded Shakespearean romance while a bronze, imposing taffeta dress characterised by 110 hours of hand painted animals was contrasted with a poplin collar. Truly befitting a regal monarch!

Christian Dior
Inspiration: Christian Dior’s 1947 New Look Bar jacket and crinolined skirt

Highlights: Meier and Ruffieux’s collection was inspired by the ‘beating heart’ of Dior – the shapely ‘Bar’ suit. Models sported dramatic smokey eyes which stood out with mainly monochrome ensembles – hip-length black tops paired with full skirts and soft trousers. Perhaps one of the most wearable collections which gloried thanks to a panoply of gilded accessories. There were faint embellishments which later got more pronounced as models strutted one after another as the show progressed making it even more charming.

Inspiration: The hallowed house’s atelier on Rue Cambon

Highlights: The seamstresses worked on toiles as models walked out with their curly hair tied into up-dos wearing cropped tweed wide-leg pantsuits. The kitten-heels, ankle-hugging black suede boots under the cropped wide pants added to the great finish. The label’s embroidery, paillettes, and embedded strands of emerald and rubies were the real winners. Trust Karl Lagerfeld to bring the atelier to the runway.

Resort 17 highlights

Cruise line-up seems to be high on floral prints and applique embroideries…

Most designers seemed to be in a romantic mood as they creates sketches for resort. How else does one explain bright, luscious florals and so much of it – seen at Giambattista Valli, Alexander McQueen and Fausto Puglisi. While Valli’s moodboard was a panoply of many blooms, Sarah Burton at McQueen seemed turned on by British folk art. Fausto’s Italian aesthetic of extravagant maximalism was the talking point at Pitti Uomo, David Koma London presented a streamlined collection of evening dresses, minis and separates which take you from work to the bar. Here’s the lowdown…

Giambattista Valli
Vibe: Romance

Highlights: Soft romantic florals, billowing frothy trains and applique embroideries have been Valli’s mainstay. This time the designer referenced camellias, gardenias, anemones, peonies and lilies of the valley, stunningly realising them in  3-D petal embellishments. There were floor-sweeping empire line numbers with rose prints and Victorian-style lacy high collars – which are all set to become the red carper rage coming awards season.

Alexander McQueen
Inspiration: British folk art and domestic interiors

Highlights: Sarah Burton’s canvas was hand-painted with a soul-searing collage of carnations, yellow roses, peonies, and poppies. She also seemed inspired by British folk art and domestic interiors. Besides the sheer evening gowns with elaborate prints and embroideries, there were double-breasted coat dresses, capes tiered mini dresses belted at the waist. One factor binding the entire line were ruffles appearing all across.

Fausto Puglisi
Vibe: Unapologetic maximalism

Highlights: Fausto’s core aesthetic has always been unapologetic Italian glamour. ‘More is more’ seems to be the mantra here with ornately decorated, vibrant tones and blossming blooms wreaking a multi-sensory assault. Gladiator inspired shoes, asymmetrical mini skirts with knife pleats, sexy bodysuits, embellished denims, warrior prints all screamed – ‘fashion royalty’. Clearly for the woman who enjoys attention and never wants to be in the shadow.

David Koma
Vibe: Minimal, clean and modern

Highlights: Perhaps one of the most wearable resort line rich with bold graphic prints, chevron stripes and metallic accents. Cut-work, noodle straps and zippers running all across made it of-the-moment and youthful. Skater-print crop tops, mini shifts, skirts slashed at the thighs and colour blocked number said – a closet which takes you from an afternoon high tea to an evening of fun and drama.