Dance like a Diva... in your Payal Singhal number

Bette Davis. Bang. That’s the name I was trying to locate. The powerhouse belle who perfectly
describes the glamour conjured by Payal Singhal. Wavy coiffured air, bronzed cheeks, marchesa lips, a delicate seductive gait and a subtle sheen that does not take away from the woman who is carrying the luxurious ensemble---that is exactly how I would describe the Payal Singhal woman. She’s sure of herself, takes no nonsense and leaves an imprint of her timeless charm as she leaves the room. She’s confident, enigmatic and sure of herself…
More often than not, while witnessing models strutting down the runway during fashion weeks, I’ve often questioned the functionality of the designer outfits. Even as many creations bedazzle the ramp creating a sense of drama and opulence, I have turned to my neighbour and passed remarks about its transition from the ramp to the rack. But there is a certain stamp of surety in Payal’s design that does not let me conjecture about its saleable transition. It’s almost as it the maker’s confidence permeates into the craft.
As I watch Payal passionately showing off her babies at her new Delhi flagship studio in collaboration with Carma India, I can see why she is a celebrated label for the modern Indian woman who
knows and speaks her mind. Because Payal herself listened to her heart, side-lining fashion and market trends.
When Indian weddings were a heady cauldron of red, vermillion and fushcia, she made the bride waltz in pastels and navy with elan. She played with indigenous embroidery but tweaked it in a clever way. Heritage weaves were revived and prints were developed and copyrighted. In Payal’s clothes, the Indian lasse was stoked to stand edgy yet feminine. Feminine, with a stroke of seductive charm. That’s what I would toast this Mumbai girl for.
Payal has recently launched her flagship studio here and ladies with a yen for gorgeous clothes should not be missing out on a visit. It’s a cosy little space with oodles of stunning creations. On one row there are her signature prints that the label has created a mark in. Pretty pastels and contemporary silhouettes make the separates perfect choices for smart day wear. Urban, chic and modish, it’s not for nothing that Payal is a go-to brand for our tinsel town A-listers. The clothes have a flirty air that makes them transcend from day to evening wear. Versatile in approach and appeal, I quite liked a few pieces myself and will go back after this New Year frenzy is over…
Visibly excited at the launch, Payal, herself sporting a lovely print tunic with draped pants, said, “The
Delhi fashionista is extremely discerning and loves to make a stylish turn. It was high time we give them a gamut from out label to choose from. Apart from the prints, there’s also the occasion and the bridal wear. The reds and the oranges will always rule the main day, but my clothes are hot picks for the peripheral functions.” And, the talk veers towards the colour trends, while we hint at the wedding of the year. “I’ve never really stuck to trends. Anushka might be wearing a pale pink lehenga now, but our colour scheme has always featured the pastels in a big way. Powder blue, ivory, light lemon, peach, grey… these are colours that I find soothing.”
The embellished clothes are actually a celebration of pastels so that the embroidery and shimmer stand out as classy. Cylindrical crystals take a different shape through tassels as they do the rhythmic dance on rich silks, georgettes and satins. With a thing for heritage weaves, we love the apparels that play with textiles. Says Payal, “This year we have developed a lot of Banarasi fabrics like the Kimkhwab but our interpretation is that these can be dyed in different colours.” The final result is superlative, might we add.
There are transitional pieces such as an off-shoulder top that can be combined with a simple skirt or classic denims. The pret line includes shirt dresses, lehenga skirts, jackets, off-shoulder tops and tunics. In short, it’s a brilliant mix to lose yourself in.
At 15, when most of her peers were confused about which stream to sign up for in junior college, Payal already knew fashion was her calling. That year, she participated in a contest for Shoppers’ Stop and won the ‘Designer of the Year’ award. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan modelled her creation. “I remember it so clearly… It was this beautiful spaghetti-strap anarkali in white katarva fabric paired with a short black embroidered koti. The fabrics, though Indian, were quite unconventional for those times, as was the choice of colours,” says the amiable Payal.
For someone that young, and with no formal training in fashion (she later went on to hone her skills
at SNDT, Mumbai, as well as Parsons School of Design, New York), this was a big achievement. Of course, having parents in the garment industry helped. “The early exposure to both the creative and business sides of fashion was priceless,” she says. Then, at 19, she had the first of her many star moments—her stunning black bridal wear collection, titled The Satanic Verse, blew away the celebrity judges at her graduation show at SNDT. All six garments sold out the same day!
In the 18 years that she has been in business, she has developed a superlative signature that resides firmly in the contemporary Indian wear space. A signature marked by her keen design aesthetics and her passion to follow her own mind and heart… For that, she deserves a loud applause…


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