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'Recession has made my work better'
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Fashion Guru Tarun Tahiliani put up another grand show for the Lakme Fashion Week, even going as far as getting Khiladi Kumar to unbutton on the ramp!

In a tete-a-tete with rediff.com, he tells us what fashion means to him, how the recession has affected business and what his personal style statement is.

What does Lakme Fashion Week mean to you?
Levi's.

What are the trends this season?
The trends are more Indian comfort, dresses and denim in a dressed up way. I think it's great how denim is being used -- you can wear it at home, for a casual day out, to a party... Embellishments on denim are in -- it is being dressed up a lot. And if it is stretch, it really fits beautfully.

Has the recession affected the fashion industry?
It has affected the mid level, not the top. We have grown by 20 percent this year. But then there is so much competition that we need to be more proactive, more professional. We have to adhere to what the customer wants. In a way, it is actually made my work better. It has forced me to look inwards at what I do and made me realise that I better be focused, and be better than everyone else. Now one has to take care of quality as well as make sure it is priced right. I am not cutting corners, but I'm trying to be more efficient.

Have you designed your line keeping in mind the ongoing recession?
Absolutely not! I've kept it realistic and closer to what Levi's represents, which is great fits, cleanliness and a classic appeal. And Indian fashion, at large, is all these things.

Have things been toned down this year? Are the creations more wearable?
Well, you know, if it is not wearable, I don't see the point of creating it. Are you trying to show how creative you are? Or that you're an artist? All that is well and good, but if nobody can wear your clothes, what's the point? You need to get in the car, go to the look, dance... your clothes must let you do all that.

What do you think about the upcoming elections? Who would you like to see as the next PM?
That's a really tough one. And I'll tell you why. I'm not convinced about the intentions of any party. But yes, I will vote.

Do you think we have too many fashion shows in India?
I think so, yes. And what happens with that is, that the standard falls. There should be one big body that governs and regulates these things, it shouldn't be fragmented like this. People get sick of fashion by the end of it. I know that you journalists just want things to get over by the end of the first Fashion Week. Even buyers find it hectic and tedious.

What's with all the rumours about animosity between designers?
I'm here, and I'm very happy. I have no problem with Wills or Lakme. I think it is just silly Indian politics -- Get over it, guys!

What's your personal fashion style?
Basic and classic. I like clothes that you can wear forever. I like Indian clothes, but more than that I like the classic appeal of them. I like very simple, toned down styles that are comfortable to wear.

Photograph: Dominic Xavier

Also see: A tantalising show by Tarun Tahiliani got Levi's!
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