I still remember my first real introduction to Indian fashion. I was a little girl when I got my first set of Indian clothes; a purple skirt and blouse ensemble with simple silver threadwork/embroidery. My grandparents would jet off to India once in a while and take one suitcase filled with Indian clothing and accessories for their children and grandchildren. As kids, me and my cousins would sit around the suitcase, curious of its content, while our grandma unpacked this suitcase filled with Indian fabrics, dresses, clutches and bracelets. It was only years later when I purchased an Indian gown myself. Heavily inspired by Indian films I would browse the racks of an Indian dress shop hoping to find an outfit resembling the ones I had seen in the movies. In my early teens I actually bought a peach colored, shiny number, heavily embroidered with silver sequins and beads, just because it resembled the dress Kareena Kapoor wore in the ‘Bole Chudiyan’ song from the film ‘Kabhi Khushi Khabie Gham’. I laugh about it now, but back then I felt like a real Bollywood starlet in that outfit. As a woman of mixed race, growing up in the west, it is hard to find occasions to wear Indian clothing. Which is probably my excuse for still not being able to drape a sari on my own (even ‘How To’ videos on YouTube do not help). These days my preference goes out to simplistic and modern designs. My mixed cultural background attracts me to designs that are both eastern and western. I am extremely excited about the designers in India who are becoming more and more influenced by western styles and modern art styles. The classic sari becomes the sari-gown and modern prints and silhouettes make an entrance during fashion weeks.
An innovative collection that combines traditional Indian clothing styles with modern and artistic influences is the latest winter festive 2013 collection from fashion house Payal Singhal.
Payal Singhal ‘Char Bagh’
Payal Singhal is a South Asian fashion house established in 1999. The collections designed under this label consist of contemporary Indian, ‘east meets west’ designs. The winter/festive 2013 collection was showcased during Lakmé Fashion Week last august. The collection named ‘Char Bagh’ (four gardens) is inspired by Persian-style garden layouts. The central principle of Char Bagh is balancing architecture and nature. The use of graphic bold (geometric) prints and floral embroidery are the designers translation of the ‘Char Bagh’ theme. The color palette is very simple, pale pinks and heavy blacks take centre stage. It creates a very modern and abstract look. The fabrics used for this collection are silk muls, cotton and crepe silk.
I like this collection a lot. The idea behind it is very artistic. Soft and flowing silhouettes are contrasted with sharp cuts and abstract geometric prints are combined with floral and flowing prints. It really shows that contrast between architecture and nature like explained before. The 90’s style crop tops are very on trend. I like the combination of contemporary pieces with traditional Indian styles, it is like a breath of fresh air. My favorite piece of this collection is the first look shown in the gallery; pale, pink pants with black, floral prints combined with a long-sleeved, crop top with geometric prints. It is extremely funky and fierce. These two items are a must have! I also really like the lehenga ensembles from this collection. These styles really appeal to young and modern women who are intrigued by the art of fashion.
For more information about Payal Singhal visit: payalsinghal.com