Queen of asymmetrical garments

Queen of asymmetrical garments

Designer space

Queen of asymmetrical garments

It’s no exaggeration to say that Payal Khandawala redefined the rules of Indian fashion by presenting a range of asymmetrical garments that were a welcome departure from structured silhouettes.

The designer empowered her ensembles with a vibrant colour palette and turned to indigenous craftsmanship to add distinct flavour to her designs. The Mumbai-based designer, whose collections have been sported by actors like Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Kalki Koechlin, has studied art in New York and Barcelona and was a professional artist till 2011. She became a full-time designer after launching her eponymous label in 2012.

 The 42-year-old tells Shilpa Raina why she considers herself a drama queen.

Why did you become a designer?

I started the label because I couldn't find the clothes I would have liked to wear. The reason why I design and wear my own label is because I believe in the clothes I make. They come from an honest place and also have a sincere point of view.

Did you face any challenges when you started as you focussed on relaxed
silhouettes?

It wasn’t difficult because I can be quite stubborn about what I believe in. Plus, the plan was not to challenge anyone — style is such a personal expression. To me, comfort comes first. So I just made clothes that were relaxed, but still dramatic because that’s what I like. Turns out, there are lots of other ladies out there like me, so I was really fortunate.

Will you always stick to minimalism?

I’m not sure I can even really be considered a minimalist. I love drama. I love the luxury of colour and textile. In a way, my clothes are simpler than being minimal. I love embroidery. I love the poetry of a woven gold thread. My clothes are restrained but not bereft of that little something extra. I just use it in good measure and I dislike clothes to be loud, scratchy, heavy, cumbersome and tacky.

What is your design philosophy?

I don’t like too much of anything. I’m just good at editing. I’ll always stick to ‘less is more’. I don’t like labels and boxes. It’s nice when you make your own category because people don’t know where or how to slot you. Also, I am not a ‘fashion’ brand in that sense. I’m not going to make a balloon skirt because the 80s are trending. I make what I think works for me and my customers. I am impervious to external influence and pressures to reinvent. For me, it has to be a personal journey with a natural progression. The impulse to experiment can’t be schizophrenic.

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