Style Edit: Payal Khandwala Talks About Her Ode To Mirabai & The Timeless Appeal Of A Saree

The striking play of colours and the minimal silhouettes that Payal Khandwala champions with her eponymous label hardly need any introduction. Having started in the industry in 2011, the designer is a master of textures and details, and it's something she reminds us time and again with the nuances of her relaxed offerings. This time, she derived inspiration from Mira, a fearless woman whose disregard for convention is more relatable than ever.

Through her collection of handwoven silk sarees, Khandwala narrates the story of the fearless Rajput princess, and all that she stood for. Read excerpts of an interview with the designer as she talks about the collection, the timeless appeal of a saree, and the Indian fashion industry.

Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala

Luxeva: Tell us a little about the collection. What inspired you?

Payal Khandwala: "I’ve always found Mirabai’s legend to be extremely inspiring. Not just because it’s romantic but also because she was so strong in her conviction and had such a disregard for conventions and societal pressures. Her love and longing were what we know her for, but her courage to defy tradition in her own gentle but poetic ways were even more intriguing. Mirabai fought for her freedom of expression and that makes her relevant with women all over, even today. This collection was meant to be an ode to both sides of a woman—the strong as well as the vulnerable—and it tries to encapsulate the mood of this duality."

Luxeva: What are the chief design elements one can spot in the collection?
Payal Khandwala: "A strong colour palette, with elements of geometry, are portrayed as the main theme of the collection."
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Luxeva: If you had to describe the collection in one word, what would it be? 
Payal Khandwala: "Timeless."
Luxeva: How would you describe your personal style?
Payal Khandwala: "My personal style is relaxed but elegant and a bit free-spirited. I prefer my clothes to be stylish but also always practical, whether I'm wearing something casual or formal."
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Luxeva: According to you, which is the one outfit that is timeless?
Payal Khandwala: "Most certainly the saree."
Luxeva: The one trend that you are tired of seeing?
Payal Khandwala: "Sneakers with everything!"
Luxeva: Who, according to you, has a great personal style in the industry when it comes to sarees?
Payal Khandwala: "Rekha. She sticks to her traditional Kanjeevarams and I like that she won’t wear a printed chiffon sari one day and a khadi one the next. She undoubtedly has a strong point of view when it comes to her sartorial choices, and it only adds to her strong personality."
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Luxeva: What sartorial advice would you give anyone opting to wear a saree?
Payal Khandwala: "Pick a versatile saree that you can wear on multiple occasions. One that is comfortable, drapes well, and has the right weight and fall. If you’re uneasy about the pleating, watch some tutorials online; it’s simpler than you think! A saree really is the most timeless, elegant, and forgiving garment there is."
Luxeva: Fashion has been changing its course rapidly over the past few years. Do you think that we have managed to cover significant ground when it comes to inclusivity and representation?
Payal Khandwala: "I don’t think we are there yet, especially in India, but hopefully, we will get there soon. Any art form mimics life; so when we change as a society, the movement will take place faster in the fashion industry. Having said that, we must not relent in shifting this culture via any medium that is accessible."
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Luxeva: If you could spend a day with any person from the fashion industry, who would it be and why?
Payal Khandwala: "Alber Elbaz. He is immensely talented but also extremely humble, and he has a great sense of humour." 
Luxeva: What are you watching on Netflix/Amazon Prime etc. right now?
Payal Khandwala: "Reruns of The Office, Parks and Recreation, and the second season of Big Little Lies."
Luxeva: What’s the last thing you searched on Google?
Payal Khandwala: "The different sizes of fluted and reeded glasses."
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Image Courtesy: Payal Khandwala
Luxeva: What’s the most stylish holiday you’ve ever been on?   
Payal Khandwala: "It would have to be my visit to the Mara Plains Camp at Masai Mara National Reserve. It's run by National Geographic explorers Derek and Beverly Joubert and it happens to be understated and tasteful, with an immense amount of attention to detail. Every little thing, from the views and the decor to the food and the hospitality was magical."
Luxeva: What are you currently obsessed with?  
Payal Khandwala: "Glass, hinges, and tiles; I’m renovating our new home!"

Featured Image: Payal Khandwala

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