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It has been 25 trailblazing years for celebrated fashion designer Payal Jain, perfecting her strokes on the ramp, creating corporate designs, dabbling in home furnishings as well as architectural spaces—and yet she is searing on, powered by her passion to simply, create.“I absolutely love everything about my profession. I was born to the arts (her mother is a musician and father, a design engineer). Art and aesthetics run in my blood and continue to take different forms and expressions, blending, evolving—be it music, dance, painting, sculpture, ceramics, poetry, cinematography, textile or fashion,” she says, running her fingers through her pixie mop, smiling beatifically.
There is an aura of magnetic calm about her, a remarkable degree of humility considering that she is one of the most highly sought-after designers in the country.“My label is an extension of my personality. I work with Indian textiles and crafts and have always been passionate about creating fabrics from scratch,” says Jain. An artist herself, with her evocative paintings, she conforms to the school which believes that fashion is an art form.
Jain is intrinsically a creative heart, and for her, the first inspiration for a collection could take root in her mind through the sight or memory of a beautiful flower blooming, a mesmerising sunrise, travel to an exotic destination, a great book, a historical period or character, an artist’s work or simply an inspired frame of mind.
It is her deep-seated love for India and our country’s glorious past, rich culture, vast textile heritage, incredible costumes, musical legacy, art and architecture that have chimed in unparalleled unison to manifest in some form or the other in all her creative pursuits, especially her unrivalled repertoire in the world of fashion.
The process of creation is slow, satisfying, almost soul-stirring at many levels for her. Says Jain, “My deepest joy lies in being able to see what I have envisioned, come alive on a weaver’s loom or embroider’s adda. It takes plenty of time, patience, love and passion to wait and watch as each collection slowly begins to take shape. The entire process can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months and each step is absolutely full of magic and gratification.” No wonder, then that each of her garments is a treasured heirloom, to be passed down generations with pride.
While Jain has worked with just about every colour and every material, the ongoing collection on her drawing board currently is replete with off-white, nude and soft pastels. “These colours will reign in Spring-Summer 2019,” she says, predicting the palette. Yet, prod her about her own favourite picks from her personal wardrobe and she responds with a smile, “My indigo blue jeans, a long black trench coat that I absolutely adore (it has been my most faithful travel companion and I have worn it almost to the bone!), and, of course, my white Nike leather sneakers.” Clearly, comfort rules for her.
What is it that has kept her on top of the fashion industry for 25 years? It is the freshness of contours, the immaculate rendition, her zeal, effervescence and desire to keep learning that forms part of the classic appeal of each of her creations. A palpable blend of her thoughts, feelings, experiences and ruminations.
So what’s the best part about being Payal Jain? “The freedom to be as mad as I want. Even if I were to die today, the only thing I would want to do is to be able to hug my family once before I go. Beyond that I have no other wish,” says she.
Of course, her bucket list is short and succinct and realmless, much like her unbeatable spirit. “I want to travel once around the world, be a bartender for one night, and live like a nomad for an indefinite period of time,” she laughs. So what’s next? “Who knows? I’m game for anything.”