“I don’t call it fashion; I call it art,” says Veena Chauhan (pictured below), Creative Director and Founder of TauVC. These words, so simple yet so telling, are the essence of this emerging designer’s philosophy; one that strays away from superficial fads to a motivation that runs far deeper. Such depth hails from much more than the classic and timeless aesthetic of her collections — it reflects the genesis of her line that has flourished from the most unlikely of places.
In January 2012, Chauhan’s then 4-year-old son Aryaan, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This particularly high-risk disease immediately turned the Chauhan family’s world upside down—and sent them straight to New Jersey’s Morristown Memorial Medical Center for treatment. Heartbroken at the sight of her son’s suffering, Chauhan classifies the experience as “surreal.” When Aryaan lost his hair because of chemotherapy, she shaved hers so he would not be alone. When he finished his first round of treatment and still was not in remission, Chauhan took a nine-day spiritual journey to the Himalayas, climbing 18 miles of terrain in a pair of ballet shoes.
But what Chauhan did most during those intense days, weeks, and months at the hospital was sit by the bedside of Aryaan—and sketch. Midnight drawings of evening gowns and sleepless 4 a.m. studies of draping details were her escape; the doctors and nurses working to save her son’s life were her inspiration; and the young, teenage girls, fighting for their own lives with outward grace and inner strength, were her motivation. Sketch by sketch, she found a way to cope with her son’s illness by creating something beautiful, even amidst the harsh background of hospital gowns and IV bags.
Completely self-taught, Chauhan continually taps into memories of her childhood in India, remembering the intricate ancient stone reliefs and the majestic scale of cathedral ceilings. These subtle yet powerful influences are woven into the design and workmanship of her own elaborate, highly detailed creations. Her background in architecture gives way to the silhouettes of her structured yet feminine designs that celebrate the female form in a most regal and sophisticated manner.
Her latest collection features 17 unique pieces that pay homage to the 1950’s with a sense of elegant and modern refinement. A statement dress (pictured below) is inspired by an upside-down tulip, while a jacket features the refined demureness of a high collar and cuffs, adorned with buttons from Italy and Switzerland.
Industry leaders classify Chauhan’s garments as a “perfect fit” for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley recently gave his seal of approval, calling her his “best inspiration for the day.” These are more than admiral accolades for the up-and-coming designer, which is not lost on Chauhan. “It’s all wonderful,” Chauhan says, but the people she envisions most wearing her clothes are the doctors, nurses and, most especially, the cancer patients who continue to impact her so greatly.
Chauhan’s future plans include producing a custom, one-of-a-kind line that would strictly raise funds for cancer foundations — an obvious cause that still rings near and dear to her heart. Outside of this remarkable objective, Chauhan seeks to penetrate the Dallas market by virtue of her story and the TauVC collection now available through her e-commerce site.
As for her son, five days after she returned from the Himalayas, Chauhan received the news that he was in remission. To this day, Aryaan remains as her major source of inspiration. For more information about Veena Chauhan’s latest collection, visit veenachauhan.com.
All images via Veena Chauhan.