Indulge one-on-one: Mumbai-based designer Payal Khandwala's AW collection draws inspiration from The Tuareg tribe and is in Chennai!
IT IS FROM the Tuareg tribe of people, or the Blue People, who inhabit the Sahara desert, from across Libya, Mali, Algeria and Burkina Faso that Mumbai-based designer Payal Khandwala draws her inspiration. She will be in the city this week, as she launches her A/W collection named, The New Order. Her approach to clothing is dramatic yet minimal, but with subtle attention to detail. And her muse — an intelligent, non-conformist woman. With a background in fine arts and fashion in New York and Barcelona, Payal loves working with handwoven silks, khadi, cottons and linens in a palette that is rich and vibrant, and will be bringing in about 18 pieces from her prêt collection and 18 pieces from her festive collection.
“Our vivid colour palette and silhouettes are our key differentiators. But our signature lies in the fact that we have a distinct voice and a point of view that is honest and consistent,” says the 44-year-old designer. “We make clothes that maximise women’s personalities. This is why they are considered minimal, uncluttered and modern, because the pieces are not as important as the women that wear them.”
When Payal moved back after her stint in New York, she couldn’t find clothes that she wanted to wear — designs that were stylish but also spelt a modern India. Designer clothes, she felt, were too expensive or ethnic. “When an opportunity arose to show at fashion week that year, I thought why not just make the clothes I would like to wear? It wasn’t a strategy to launch a label, it was really just a shift in canvas for me. I was a full- time painter but I had studied design.” For this collection, she has introduced suede and velvets, to her offering of handwoven silks, organzas and pleated satins, all of which are designed in-house and handwoven in Benaras, towns of Bengal and Bengaluru.
Silhouette-wise, Payal has kept it simple with A-line shapes mimicking the roomy clothes that the Tuaregs are known to wear. The lengths are long and the shapes are fluid, as people in the deserts prefer, but with more tailored menswear-inspired shapes. “In the same way, more diaphanous fabrics are teamed with structured heavier silks, kurtas are teamed with men’s trousers, and men’s jackets with maxis.”
When it comes to colours, the indigo pigment is a prominently used in the 18-piece collection. “When the Tuaregs wore blue, it used to stain their skin dark blue. And then they were given the Blue People moniker,” she explains. She also points out that blue, which is otherwise a male colour, is now being used extensively in her collection for women. Strong shades of sapphire, cobalt,
cerulean and black are also used.
“They are Indian in their spirit, but I wish they redefine what women want to wear today, so that it is not simply traditional ideas that are repackaged, but clothes that rethink a visual language for a future generation,” she says with a hope that her clothes will represent a voice for a new India.
The New Order will be on display at Collage, Nungambakkam.
From `9,000 upwards.