24 hours with TARUN TAHILIANI 4 20
If I haven’t gone out the night before, I’m usually up between 5:45-6:00 a.m. I’ve restructured my life so that I can get to my studio (in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of Delhi) by 8:30 a.m., otherwise I get stuck in traffic. So I have to be in my car by half past seven. This makes my mornings very packed. I like to start my kriyas (yogic exercises) within three minutes of waking up. I learnt these at the Isha Ashram in Coimbatore, and they’ve given me focus and energy. I’ve gotten addicted to them and I think it’s good to have a good addiction. I also have a yoga instructor coming in a couple of times a week. When he’s there, I do 20 surya namaskars. I have to be in the shower by this time. I have a sort of valet to help me get ready; he lays out my clothes and takes my books and files to the car. Then I have these juice shots, you know? Wheatgrass, aloe vera, flaxseed, amla. I generally wear all black to work. When you’re surrounded by colour and prints all day long, you tend to dress simply. Black jeans by Levi’s, though I try to fit into Diesel but I can’t, and a black M&S T-shirt. I have 45 of these in my walk-in wardrobe. I live in three pairs of Tod’s shoes, but for the last few weeks, I’ve been wearing these Porsche Design sneakers as they have springs built into the heels, which are great for support because I have a foot problem. I dress purely for comfort, and to look two kilos lighter than heavier. I’m in the car and I use the time to check my mails. I plan so I can leave the factory by 5:00 p.m. latest, because very often, I go to the couture studio afterwards.
I’m usually the first or the second person on the design floor. This is when I have breakfast, which is two green rotis with a bowl of sprouts and a paneer bhujia, all of which comes from home. All my meals are leftovers from my various diets that worked very well for a time but disintegrated somewhere along the line. So I’ve got this random cocktail of diets for my meals, from five or eight different dieticians. Then I have a cup of coffee. The first meeting of the day is usually for couture. I have about 24 design assistants—four or five head different departments, with about five others working under them. I see swatches, approve designs, oversee orders. As the company has grown, I think it’s very important that I look at couture orders personally. I am worried that sometimes things that aren’t completely satisfactory can go out to the client. So this is the open hour where any problems can be brought to me. This goes on till 10:30 a.m., but if we’re working on a new collection, the meetings go longer.
By now it’s time for another coffee. I like to have the mornings free for pure design work. Depending on the day, I meet the different design teams. Right now, we’re preparing for the show in October, which we’re doing in collaboration with London-based artists The Singh Twins. There are days when we’re just looking at toiles, or a day when we have
a fit model coming in.