Athiya Shetty with Payal Singhal
Athiya Shetty with Payal Singhal
Pic: Viral Bhayani

The ramp was set in the open air, complementing the bold music in the background as loungewear met streetwear beautifully combined with Indian wear. It’s Payal Singhal with her classy modern Indian wear couture with a global touch! The one designer who has carved her niche in the fashion industry across South Asia in women’s and men’s wear. Her collection, just like every year, featured the future of fashion with a present-day relevance. In one of its kind collection of Indian athleisure titled ‘Kismet’ at FDCI x LFW in collaboration with R-Elan — ‘the fabric of the future’ — Payal’s collection offered an increasingly relevant combination of western and Indian in the face of fashion’s changing axis. At the end of her show, Payal settled to talk to the Cinema General about her idea of fashion in the time of pandemic, facing designer’s block, how fashion has evolved over the years and her wise words for the bride-to-be this season. Excerpts from the interview:

What was the inspiration behind your designs this season?

It’s impossible to ignore the times we are living in when designing a collection now. Comfort being the key, we collaborated with R-Elan and used their eco-friendly and free flow fabrics to create this collection. The next wave of clothing is all about minimal maximalism — which means that even when dressed to the nines, there will be a need for ease in silhouettes and fabrics. This is a unique take on Indian wear merged with loungewear that I have never done before. It is also inspired by how I dress — I do not have separate Indian and western wear wardrobes. My personal style is all about making transitional pieces work together no matter the occasion.

‘Fashion has witnessed 180 degree change,’ says Payal Singhal at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week
Pic: Viral Bhayani

Did the pandemic, in any way, impact your creative outlook?

We’ve spent the past year in kaftans and loungewear, they have become wardrobe MVPs. I started creating more resort and loungewear options that have become increasingly relevant in the face of fashion’s changing axis.

How do you make the transition with your ideas while designing women and men’s wear?

Our USP has always been modern Indian bridal, and occasion wear laden with global appeal. While history and culture are starting points, tradition is approached with a renewed outlook to give every collection a present-day relevance and the hallmark of each Payal Singhal ensemble is the easy transition from traditional to non-traditional settings. Our designs are very versatile so it’s easy to transition our ideas while designing for men and women.

‘Fashion has witnessed 180 degree change,’ says Payal Singhal at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week
Pic: Viral Bhayani

Do you experience designer’s block? How do you deal with that?

I live, eat, sleep, breathe fashion and that is how I do it... and it is not as easy as it looks. It’s a lot of hard work, passion and focus. But, sometimes I do experience a block, we all do. I just switch off, take a short holiday and start fresh on the drawing and inspiration board.

What changes or trends have you observed over the years in India, especially in traditional wear?

In the last decade, the fashion landscape, both nationally and internationally, has witnessed a 180-degree change, setting the tone for a new decade. Boundaries are being blurred and fashion has assumed a truly democratic and inclusive avatar. Clothing is no longer being compartmentalised, giving rise to non-defined cuts that blur the line between Indian and western silhouettes for instance, you can wear the same embroidered bustier with a dupatta for a wedding or pair it with shorts on a vacation. At the same time, as the lifestyle of the average fashion consumer evolves to demand a more utilitarian value from their purchases, clothing has gone gender- and occasion-neutral. So now, you have brands like Kallol Datta, Huemn, Antar-Agni and Bloni that are creating gender-fluid looks, while it is globally acceptable to wear a pantsuit to an Indian sangeet or a classic sari to a black-tie gala abroad. On the other hand, couture and prêt now co-exist harmoniously within the same wardrobe – a vintage Chanel tweed jacket worn with fine jewellery and trousers from a local high street brand? Why not!

‘Fashion has witnessed 180 degree change,’ says Payal Singhal at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week
Pic: Viral Bhayani

Bollywood celebrities who can pull off the Indian aesthetic elegantly, when it comes to fashion?

I would say Ranveer Singh and Sonam Kapoor.

What advice would you give brides preparing their look for the big day?

I think comfort is going to be on every bride’s list of priorities when it comes to her bridal ensemble. Go for lighter fabrics and breezy silhouettes that not only facilitate movement but also make you feel completely at ease on your big day. Choose an ensemble which you can re-wear after your D-day.

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