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Private collection: Tanaz Vaghaiwala

By Divya Gursahani

53-year old Tanaz Vaghaiwala’s wardrobe is a collection of sartorial treasures. Preserved for over two decades, you will find an array of statement styles—delicate blouses, bold prints and stand out silhouettes. Always an aficionado of fashion, Vaghaiwala travelled extensively across the world as her husband was a Captain in the Merchant Marine. This led her to fascinating fabric markets all over the globe. Multiple style inspirations, international exposure and careful curation culminated in a beautifully unique wardrobe. We sat down with her for a beautiful trip down memory lane.

 

The Local Vintage: Describe your style back in the day.

Tanaz Vaghaiwala: I dressed very feminine—picture dresses and skirts in vivid colours and bold prints paired with closed heel pumps. A lot of my inspiration  came from watching the people around me dress a certain way, especially my mother, aunts, women in the Parsi community as well as magazines like Cosmopolitan and Housekeeping.

 

TLV: Your extensive travels took you all over the world. How did that shape your collection?

TV: When we sailed across the globe, I always looked forward to arriving at a port in Africa which had huge open markets selling fabrics. There was a wide range of prints to pick from and I would bring them back to my local tailor in Bombay to be stitched to my preference. The pride and joy of designing a custom dress, making it the only one of its kind in the world, is unparalleled. From the Middle East, most of my pickings were scarfs and ethnic cottons that had such lovely old world charm.

Besides travel, many of my blouses came from Parsi women living in Bombay, who sold clothing at home exhibitions. The news of fresh collections would spread like wildfire in the small community.

 

TLV: How, in your opinion, has style evolved through the years?

TV: Back in the day, style was much more formal, perhaps due to the influence of colonies. The must haves for women around that time were dresses, skirts and blouses made from chiffon, silk, crepe, georgette and satin. Now, clothing is much more informal. I see people wearing more denims and shorts, T-shirts with graphic prints and simple dresses on a regular basis. Something that we lacked in our time was the androgynous style of dressing which was limited only to pant-suits. The unisex options now are pretty cool!

 

TLV: What made you preserve these garments for so many years and how are they in such a great shape?

TV: I was just unable to part with them because I am generally possessive about my clothes and take very good care of them. The secret to the clothes being in such a good condition is hand washing them!

 

TLV: Which is your favorite piece from the collection and why?

TV: The multi-coloured dresses with the bold prints. I guess that is because I used my sense of design and I created this piece just out of a vision I had in my head! The feeling of designing the dress and knowing no one else had anything that looked like it is what made it so unique and I was proud to have it.

 

TLV: What are you thoughts on vintage stores?

TV: I had no idea that such stores existed. Coming across The Local Vintage made me feel like there are people out there that still appreciate the old school styles and are willing to keep incorporating them in this new millennium! Thats very exciting!

 

TLV: Do you have a message for the people whose closets will now house your prize possessions?

TV: My kids have a very different sense of style, so I am just really glad that someone, somewhere will be using these classic clothes. I’m happy that someone will appreciate them and will enjoy wearing them as much as I did! Passing my style and also sharing the same taste with the younger generation in 2021 feels great!

Shop the collection here.



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