Payal Singhal’s Spring-Summer collection, aptly titled, The New Normal, celebrates both the uncertainty and the sense of hope that the new year brings. “This collection is defined by the overarching mood of our times. We did not look far and wide for inspiration, but at what’s unfolding right in front of our eyes. We’ve used fashion as a tool to portray life as we now know it. And while that definition may be different for everyone, one thing is for common: we’re all doing the best we can,” shares Payal.
Ahead of her launch, she chats with ELLE about her new collection, and how the last year has changed her design sensibilities.
ELLE: Tell us about the mood board of this collection. What has been your biggest inspiration?
Payal Singhal: This collection is defined by the current zeitgeist. It’s more about the overarching mood of our times, rather than just the mood board. We did not look far and wide for inspiration, but at what’s unfolding right in front of our eyes. We’ve used fashion as a tool to portray life as we now know it. And while that definition may be different for everyone, one thing is in common: we’re all doing the best we can.
ELLE: What is the one thing you are most excited about in this collection?
PS: We have experimented with the narrative this season, something I am truly excited about. We’ve imagined the entire collection as a photo essay, which unfolds scene by scene, showcasing a group of friends debating the idea of stepping out for a wedding for the first time since the lockdown. It touches upon the social anxiety we’ve all experienced at some point in this past year. Limiting fashion to just clothing is a very myopic approach, in my opinion. Fashion is a reflection of our evolution, and this season, we’ve used it to tell a story that I feel all of us will relate to in some capacity.
ELLE: Homegrown and sustainability have become the buzzwords, more so in the last year. How are you supporting that narrative?
PS: As you said, they have become overused buzzwords today. For us, it’s not about jumping onto this bandwagon for mere lip service. It never was. We have championed an India modern aesthetic for 20 years now, reimagining Indian crafts and silhouettes in a global context, and always will. It’s not a new concept for us. We are also incredibly collaborative, and are constantly working with other homegrown Indian brands for specialised lines — be it our latest gifting collaboration with Flower Child by Shaheen Abbas, footwear with Fizzygoblet and Paio, headbands with Joey & Pooh or wallpapers with Marshall’s.
ELLE: What are some of the key trends to watch out for in this collection?
PS: The Payal Singhal label has never been trend-driven. We have always highlighted the value of trans-seasonal separates for any occasion wear wardrobe, that you can mix and match in individualistic ways. That said, you will spot a lot of kaftans with our signature tassels, our back-tie cholis, which have become immensely popular, embellished jogger sets, bomber jackets, blazers paired with lehengas, athleisure influences and sharara sets. Our wool embroidery gets more vivid, and the signature ikat PS print gets a new lease of life this season. While the collection was designed keeping intimate weddings in mind, they are transitional pieces and can easily be adapted for other occasions too.
ELLE: Has the pandemic affected your design sensibilities in any way? If yes, please elaborate.
PS: The pandemic gave everyone the opportunity to reflect on the way forward, and this is true for me too. I have become more driven only to do what I love and believe in without being swayed by the industry’s demands as designers. Comfort has always been a priority for me when designing my collections, but it has become an even bigger focal point. There are more traces of how I dress in real life in the clothes now, especially athleisure with an Indian occasion wear update.