Payal Singhal has fashion in her genes. Her father Dinesh brought the first foreign brand FU’s in the 1980s to India. At the Chrysalis 1996 graduation show from the Premlila Vithaldas Polytechnic, Payal won the Most Elegant Collection Award for her clothes. ‘London Fashions’ was her father’s label but Payal wanted to strike out on her own creative steam and her parents encouraged her to make a name for herself.
Marriage to Nirvaan Kripalani took her to New York where Payal’s trunk shows in different American and Canadian cities made her a favourite with fashionistas.
Back in India in 2007, her first Lakmé Fashion Week appearance established her as an occasion and bridal wear expert. Payal’s experiments with wedding trousseaux totally revolutionised the look for the bride. She brought in her trademark draped trouser saris, her favourite low-crotch salwars, the shararas, ghararas and the elimination of the dupatta from the lehenga/choli duo.
Marketing has been important for Payal since her return to India, which is now handled efficiently by Nirvaan. Embellishments are her fortè and research is her passion, which she undertakes while studying the various global embroidery techniques, which she incorporates into her collections. Her fabrics are luxurious and revolve around silks, tulles, velvets and laces, while her colour palette ranges from soft pastels to rich jewel tones.
Payal’s silhouettes move effortlessly from ethnic to fusion looks and then onto gowns and cocktail dresses with the greatest of ease. Having earned quite a following for her bridal wear, Lakmé Salon selected her to dream up the “Show Stopping Bride Collection” at the last Winter/Festive 2018 season. Her two exclusive stores in Mumbai and Delhi cater to a long line of buyers. Her prices for occasion wear are between Rs 15,000 and Rs 85,000; while bridal wear starts at Rs 90,000 upwards.
Payal’s retail network is vast with three Ensemble stores, Atosa, Aza and Amaara in Mumbai stocking her creations; while in Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad another 14 stores keep her buyers longing for her characteristic bridal creations.
Business is transacted between 11 am and 7 pm and Payal operates on two models, which are outright buying, or goods on consignment against an advance.
Meher Castelino is one of India’s best known fashion journalists and commentators. Long before India was recognised as the home of style and beauty queens, Meher was crowned Miss India. Way, way back in 1964! She has also mentored many emerging divas, including a certain Aishwarya Rai. Meher writes in many Indian and international publications. For Xyngr, she stylegazes every Wednesday.