Another Pratap in Fashion

Why would new designer Payal Pratap work from the interiors of Faridabad for which you need an adventurous ride through a railway crossing underpass and potholed dusty roads where cows chew cud?

Written by Somya Lakhani | Published:October 7, 2012 2:32 am

Why would new designer Payal Pratap work from the interiors of Faridabad for which you need an adventurous ride through a railway crossing underpass and potholed dusty roads where cows chew cud? Simple: because that’s where her husband,well-known designer Rajesh Pratap Singh,works from. Their factory is used to pre-fashion week frenzy but this time it’s twice the chaos. It was Payal’s debut day as one of the two opening designers at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2013 (WIFW) edition that began yesterday in Delhi.

Used to handling frantic business calls for the Rajesh Pratap brand for many years,Payal was experiencing private goosebumps this time. “Of course,I am nervous,even though I’ve been in the industry for more than 15 years. I started retailing my clothes in 2010 and was surprised by the response from clients and stores,” she says. She was recently declared the runner-up at the annual Vogue Fashion Fund.

The 39-year-old belongs to the much remembered 1994 batch of National Institute of Fashion Technology,Delhi,with her husband and Manish Arora as batchmates. She joined Rajesh in 1998 as an assistant and has been married to him for 15 years.

Her forte,explains Payal,lies in Indian wear though this collection is a fusion. There are dhoti pants,salwars teemed with short angarkha tops,kedia blouses with saris and choli-inspired maxi dresses with ruched waistlines. The range is vibrant with colours such as deep red,saffron,blazing yellow,pink,purple and black and off-white,with a splash of sequins. Call it folksy,boho chic or gypsy,as you please. “Rural Gujarat is an inspiration — bursts of colour,geometrical designs from the Rabari tribe,contrasting colour combinations and the way they tuck their ghagras. They mix and match so well,” says Payal,as she goes through some of the leather bangles that will go with the clothes.

The simplicity of Payal’s personality is (till her clothes make a point on the runway) her most striking feature. She is humble,dresses up in plain shirts and jeans with almost no make-up and jewellery,attends very few late-night parties and frets about her two children at home. Comparisons with her husband’s label and style are inevitable. “We both have very different aesthetic sense but a similar approach to fashion and philosophy of discipline at work,” she says,adding,“I am very organised and dislike last-minute changes. He is a last-minute man. When I first joined him,I use to panic. He has taught me to be calmer.”

Payal’s collection is available at select retail outlets in the country. She plans to open her own store too. “For a minute,I did think that people might just address me as Rajesh’s wife but the market has changed and people place the products first,” she says. After her debut today,Payal will be backstage on Sunday evening,helping Rajesh as he showcases his Spring-Summer collection at WIFW.

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