India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Fashion
September 29, 2015

What’s In Payal Khandwala’s Pockets?

Text by Tanisha Choudhury

Payal Khandwala’s sleek lines have given way to festive lehengas with pockets. Find out why this is practical and clever

1. What’s with traditional lehengas with pockets?
​“It was quite simple really, I’m not a big fan of carrying a clutch and worrying about where I’ll have to keep it if I’m dancing, then worrying if it might get stolen before the end of the night, or simply trying to negotiate a plate of food or a drink and in my case a daughter and a bag! I prefer having my hands free, so I’m obsessed with pockets​ and introduce them whenever I can in a garment,​ if that means I can ditch my purse.”

2. What do you keep in your pockets?
​“Not much…my phone, house keys, a credit card and a lipstick.”

3. What kind of woman would appreciate pockets in her lehengas?
“I would think women who value comfort and are practical.”

4. How can these lehengas look festive?
​“A lehenga is really just a skirt with lots of volume, so if we are to treat it as such and break away from the stereotypes of pairing it with a blouse and dupatta, you can get much more wear out of one. Team it with a shirt or a jacket for a slightly bolder look, or just a simple crew neck top. We also have several off-shoulder asymmetrical ponchos, pleated wraps and silk organza jackets that can be teamed with a lehenga to give it a festive look that is not predictable.”

5. Who is the Payal Khandwala bride?
“Our bride won’t sacrifice comfort for style. She might wear flats because she knows it will be a long night and will appreciate a lehenga that is lightweight, traditional yet sophisticated. I think she would pick subtle luxury because what she wears is an extension of who she is and not because she’s trying to compete with other brides. She’s confident, she packs light, plus she saves money not buying a really expensive lehenga, (that she might only wear once) and spends the money on travel instead!”

6. What sets apart Payal Khandwala’s brocades and benarasis?
​“Our approach to brocades is so different. I don’t use Benarasi textiles in the way that we have seen them, mostly in traditional silhouettes over the years. I deliberately retain our signature shapes and modern tailoring to give the clothes an entirely contemporary context. The idea is that you can wear this to any formal occasion in India or outside the country without feeling out of place or like one is in a costume. We customise the artwork from traditional patterns and are also developing original designs that will break free from the customary motifs we most often see. This further reinforces the idea of keeping the voice relevant yet distinctive.”

7. What are your festive season must-haves?
​“Brocade culottes with a silk shirt, a brocade shirtdress or a brocade jumpsuit.”

8. What is the inspiration behind this collection?
“Mostly it stemmed from a need. I always had trouble finding clothes that I could wear for weddings and other formal occasions. Clothes that were luxurious but well priced, stylish and comfortable, that were traditional but also modern. I designed my own wedding wardrobe much before I started the label because what was available never ticked all the boxes. Knowing there must be others out there just like me, in a way, was the inspiration for the Limited Edition line.”

9. Your colour palette is vivid and inspired…
​“As a painter, colour has always been central to my storytelling, in my artworks as well as my designs. It is an integral part of our brand communication. I’ve always drawn inspiration from varied sources – nature, paintings, tribal jewellery, vintage textiles, carpets, monks and maharajahs!​”

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