Inspired by bohemian prints and cuts, Payal Singhal’s latest collection showcased at Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive is starkly different from her last collection. The collection ‘Gypsies and Bohemia’ is packed with contemporary silhouettes such as calf-length skirts, blazers, and jumpsuits. Staying true to the brand’s DNA, Payal incorporated unique cuts and patterns with colourful prints, adding delicate embroidery. This year also marks the label’s 20 years and Payal could not be more excited for the same.
The reason for choosing this theme, Payal says, was her desire to experiment. “Usually, designers think about buyers, clientele, and obviously we have a certain formula, but this time we didn’t want to follow that. I wanted to do what makes me happy— playing with colours, textures and experiment a little bit. Also, our brand resonates with this theme. When we think of gypsies and bohemians, we think of colourful people, people who are into arts and crafts and are a little different. That’s why I thought it was a great theme to commemorate our 20 years.”
At the show, the ramp was decked with bohemian decor — from tall accent feathers, weaved baskets to carpets hanging overhead, everything was tied together with peppy feel-good music. The showstoppers Shibani Dandekar and Farhan Akhtar were dressed in coordinating outfits and the anchor was seen wearing a georgette lehenga with wool embroidery in neon colours and a cropped jacket with tassels dangling down. “I just can’t get along with a dupatta,” laughs Payal, “So I was thinking how to make it cool, without it looking like you forgot your dupatta. That’s when we came up with this crop jacket and she’s wearing boots with it,” she reveals.
Payal’s association with Shibani goes back a long way. Reminiscing her first meeting with the designer, Shibani says, “I have a very close relationship with Payal because when I first started hosting at NY, I knocked on her door and said ‘you’re dressing another host for the same TV show as me, will you please give me clothes as well?’ and she invited me to her house and I left with a bag of clothes. She didn’t know me from anywhere and that’s where our friendship began.”
After being in the industry for 20 successful years, the designer feels that she has become riskier with her designs. “I take more risks and have become a little more consumptive, so it is kind of like a double-sided sword. I’m more confident in terms of embroidery, technique, silhouettes but I’m consumptive because I know what sells and what doesn’t, so it’s kind of a balance between these two.”
One look at the showstopper outfits or any outfit from the collection for that matter, you would notice the minute detailing and play of colours, how everything complements each other. Giving a sneak peek into her designing process, Payal says, “Just to arrive at something like this (pointing at Shibani’s outfit), we would do 10 different floral designs, then in that floral pattern, we will do 10 different embroideries, then in those embroideries, we will have 10 different colours and then we will arrive at this, and that’s how a pattern is made.”
Creating a collection from an inspiration that is transformed into a sketch, sample and finally to an entire outfit is a tedious process but according to Payal, preparing for a fashion show is even tougher. “More hard work goes into doing this 15-minute show than making a 60-piece collection. You saw the set which took days and days of planning — from the colours, backdrop design music, showstoppers, front row seating, dressing everybody, passes, coordination of the passes, video, photo, back-front-side. I can design a collection in my sleep,” says the designer with a laugh.
Although fashion is a serious business and there is a lot of responsibility to cater to, the artist in Payal would rather sit on her drawing board and design dresses. “There’ve been very low moments when you’ll have a bad collection, someone could criticise the collection, or you don’t want to hear customer’s tantrum or you lose money, so many things happen. Why do you get up and go to work? It’s because you love what you do and I love creating. The time it becomes from sketch to sample, when I see the sample for the first time it’s the most exciting thing and would love to see my runway show but have never managed to see one,” she concludes.