Between participating in trade shows, signing new contracts with corporate houses and creating new collections for her pret and couture lines, designer Payal Jain has her hands full. But despite her tight schedule, she makes time to speak to us from Singapore. “I’m exploring new markets, especially in America, and that’s got me travelling all year round,” she begins. Jain, who has dressed the likes of Deepika Padukone, Huma Qureshi and Priyanka Chopra, is launching her latest collection, Blanc. A study in white, with splashes of colour, it takes inspiration from various weaving and embroidery techniques of India. “I love whites. But the challenge is that there is very little room for error. On the other hand, when executed well, you can really see the fine craftsmanship that has gone into each piece,” explains the Delhi-based designer.
In keeping with her brand ethos—a western body with an Indian soul—Blanc includes a mix of tunics, skirts, dresses, lehengas and saris. Textiles such as light georgettes, buttery crepes and luxurious silks serve as canvases for intricate and experimental applique, chikankari, zardozi, lace and resham work. “The fabrics are all natural and a large portion of them is handwoven and hand-embroidered. The surface ornamentation uses bugle beads, crystals and sequins. Lots of different crafts have gone into this collection, which is best described as timeless,” she reveals.
Renowned for creating elegant uniforms for the staff of luxury hotels, Jain tells us about her latest project for the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces. “The Taj has introduced a new concept called Tajness, which is a new approach to hospitality with a focus on getting back to our roots. One of its main elements is their new work wear range, designed by me. It’s crafted from 100 percent hand-woven natural fabrics with a lot of detailing, with techniques like quilting, pin tucks and jamdani on bandgalas, kurtas, waistcoats, salwars and more. One doesn’t normally see such detailing on uniforms,” says the graduate from California’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Jain will also be venturing into the home decor segment in the next few months, with a line of cushions, bed linen and other furnishings.
Rs 15,000 upwards. Details: payaljain.com
— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo