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
“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. “
“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.
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.