With Love From The Taj.

SHUT­TER­BUG PRAVIN TALAN SHARES AN EX­CLU­SIVE PRE­VIEW OF HIS PROJECT TO BRING BACK GLORY TO AGRA’S TRA­DI­TIONAL CRAFTS­MEN, WITH A LIT­TLE HELP FROM IN­DIA’S FASH­ION FRA­TER­NITY AND THE ICONIC TAJ MA­HAL

India Today - - LEISURE -

“FOR ME THE TAJ MA­HAL IS AN EPIT­OME OF LOVE AND LUX­URY— THE TWO MAIN IN­GRE­DI­ENTS THAT DRIVE ANY DE­SIGN HOUSE TO­WARDS PER­FEC­TION.”

— SABYASACHI MUKHER­JEE

Padma Sri Fazal Mo­ham­mad, 78, lives in a small lane in Lo­hamandi, Agra. He is one of the finest masters of zardozi work and one of the only few left in the world. Agra, home to the Taj Ma­hal, is lauded for its fab­u­lous hand­i­crafts and men like Mo­ham­mad have spent their lives pre­serv­ing their tradition and pass­ing on the craft legacy which has un­folded in the shadow of the Taj.

Pho­tog­ra­pher Pravin Talan, in­trigued by the dy­ing crafts prac­tised in Agra, has at­tempted to cap­ture their essence through a dy­namic col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween art, fash­ion and his­tory. “Its ev­ery stone, its si­lence, spoke of the heart of an em­peror and the souls of artists, so beau­ti­fully painted across each carv­ing, en­graved in each in­scrip­tion. It called out to me, to cap­ture the essence of the crafts­men in my own ex­pres­sion,”

“WHAT FAS­CI­NATES ME IS THE IN­TRI­CACY OF THE IN­LAY WORK INSIDE THE TAJ, I THINK ITS ONE OF THE FINEST IN THE WORLD. “

TARUN TAHIL­IANI

“A CON­STANT RE­MINDER OF THE BEAUTY, TAL­ENT AND EX­PER­TISE THAT WE HAVE TO OF­FER. A DEC­LA­RA­TION OF LOVE. HOW CAN ONE NOT BE IN­SPIRED BY THE TAJ?”

— ANAND KABRA

“THE CUT­WORK, THE MO­SAIC PAT­TERN­ING, THE SYM­ME­TRY, AND THE SHEER MAG­NI­TUDE ARE TO BE REVERED.”

— ANAMIKA KHANNA

he re­counts. Thus Talan be­gan what was soon called With Love From Taj in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Taj Ma­hot­sav Com­mit­tee. This multi- di­men­sional cre­ative ex­er­cise hopes to gen­er­ate aware­ness about arts, crafts, and cul­ture that have flour­ished for cen­turies in the se­cluded by­lanes of Agra city. The project, which will cul­mi­nate in a cal­en­dar in 2013, at­tempts to bring In­dia’s lead­ing artists and ar­ti­sans who take in­spi­ra­tion from the Taj Ma­hal onto a sin­gle plat­form. Six of In­dia’s best de­sign­ers: Ro­hit Bal, Tarun Tahil­iani, Sabyasachi Mukher­jee, Fal­guni and Shane Peacock, Anamika Khanna and Anand Kabra, con­trib­uted pieces in­spired by the Taj Ma­hal for a ten­day photo shoot across the Mughal city.

The re­sult of that shoot is these im­ages that speak vol­umes about how fash­ion is in­spired by his­tory; in this case the evoca­tive Taj Ma­hal that was a labour of love and pas­sion. The most vis­ited mon­u­ment of In­dia epit­o­mises per­fec­tion in ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign and the syn­the­sis of cul­tural tra­di­tions.

“A CON­FLU­ENCE OF LOVE, ART AND CRAFTS­MAN­SHIP, THE IVORY MON­U­MENT HAS BEEN MY IN­SPI­RA­TION FOR A LONG TIME, SUB­TLY VIS­I­BLE TO A KEEN EYE FOR COU­TURE.”

— RO­HIT BAL

Each de­signer turned to the Taj Ma­hal to cre­ate an In­dia- in­spired piece that cel­e­brates the finer nu­ances of the grand build­ing’s ar­chi­tec­ture. Be­yond this, the artis­tic project recog­nises and cham­pi­ons the cause of crafts­men who are strug­gling to pre­serve the in­tegrity of dy­ing crafts.

Spice brings you an ex­clu­sive pre­view of these im­ages that have been shot against the back­drop of the Taj Ma­hal. Each piece has a unique story to tell; each cap­tur­ing a dis­tinct mo­ment in time. Cel­e­brate the gen­eros­ity and spirit of With Love from Taj.

SABYASACHI’S UN­ABASHED EN­THU­SI­ASM FOR PER­SON­ALISED IM­PER­FEC­TION RESTS BEAU­TI­FULLY AGAINST THE PER­FECT SYM­ME­TRY OF THE TAJ. THE DARK EARTHY SHADES AND DEL­I­CATELY HAND WO­VEN THREAD WORK FIND THEIR ORI­GINS IN TRA­DI­TIONAL CRAFTS OF AGRA. THE HIGH NECK AND FLUID SHAPE OF THE OUT­FIT DRAWS IN­SPI­RA­TION FROM THE TAJ MA­HAL.

TARUN TAHIL­IANI POURS HIS LOVE OF EM­BEL­LISH­MENT AND ADORN­MENT INTO THIS ROYAL- HUED OUT­FIT WITH CARE­FULLY AP­PLIED GOLD LEAF WORK. THE CHIF­FON DU­PATTA ALSO HAS IN­TRI­CATE LIT­TLE GOLDEN FLOW­ERS OR BOO­TIS THAT BLOS­SOM ACROSS ITS SHEER FAB­RIC. AM­RA­PALI’S JEW­ELS ELAB­O­RATE AND SEAL THE MAGNETIC AT­TRAC­TION IN THE SHADOW OF THE TAJ.

IT IS SAID THAT THE ART OF THE KHARA DU­PATTA BE­GAN WITH AN IN­VI­TA­TION BY THE EM­PRESS NOOR JE­HAN TO CRAFT THE MOST NOBLE OUT­FIT WHICH COULD BE HANDED DOWN FROM ONE GEN­ER­A­TION TO AN­OTHER. ANAND KABRA RE­LIES ON HIS OWN HY­DER­ABADI ROOTS TO PAY RICH TRIB­UTE TO THE MUGHALS WITH DEL­I­CATE ZARDOZI WORK BOR­DERED WITH EM­BROI­DERED GOLDEN MO­TIFS IN THIS PIECE.

A TU­NIC WITH EN­CRUSTED FLO­RAL PAT­TERNS IN BURSTS OF HUNTER GREEN AND GOLD CAS­CADE OVER A MOSS GREEN SHARARA WITH EM­BROI­DERED LEAVES. THIS PRO­VIDES NAT­U­RAL MO­BIL­ITY ON JAUNTS THROUGH THE AL­LEY­WAYS OF THE HIS­TORIC CITY WITH GRACE. ANAMIKA KHANNA’S CON­TRI­BU­TION ECHOES THE PRE­CISE GEO­MET­RIC PAT­TERNS ETCHED ON THE WALLS AND WIN­DOWS OF THE TAJ.

PHO­TOG­RA­PHER: PRAVIN TALAN STYLING: AASTHA SHARMA & MO­HIT RAI HAIR & MAKE- UP: KO­MAL GU­LATI JEW­ELLERY: AM­RA­PALI & GEM PALACE

THE WHITE GLEAM OF THE TAJ HAS IN­SPIRED COUNT­LESS RO­HIT BAL COL­LEC­TIONS. THIS TIME THOUGH, HU­MIL­ITY SEEMS TO HAVE DRIVEN THE DE­SIGNER TO CHOOSE THE OP­PO­SITE END OF THE SPEC­TRUM WITH BLACK VEL­VET AND RICH­HUED IM­AGES OF PEA­COCKS, FLOW­ERS AND MO­SAIC AP­PLIQUÉ. ADD GOLD EM­BEL­LISH­MENTS TO THE ENSEM­BLE AND IT EX­UDES THE SHIM­MER FIT FOR AN EM­PRESS.

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