When Payal Singhal first launched her eponymous brand 24 years ago, she took inspiration from Mumbai’s art deco heritage and its inspiring women. But that’s not what makes this zip code so special for the designer – this was also the very same area where she interned with designer Shaina NC in 1996. This full-circle moment is definitely a milestone for the designer who has dressed the likes of Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kajol, Vidya Balan, Anushka Sharma and Dia Mirza.

To mark the inauguration of her new store, Payal Singhal chose to launch her PS @ KG campaign featuring a multitude of stars in looks from her SS’23 ‘Modern Mughals’ collection.

In an exclusive interview with Lifestyle Asia India, the designer shares her thoughts on ‘Modern Mughals’, her design journey and working with Laila Malpani on creating her Kala Ghoda store.

How did your internship with designer Shaina NC impact your career, and how does it feel to have your new store in the same location?

It was my first ever job at the age of 20. I worked in the retail department, and it shaped my early understanding of client servicing and the customer mindset at a high-end design store. To be able to open a store at the same location where I got an early glimpse of fashion design is definitely a very validating, full-circle moment for me.

Could you describe your creative process for the ‘Modern Mughals’ collection, and how did you balance the old-world silhouettes with a modern twist?

I have a long-time, deep interest in Islamic art and architecture and these references have informed the PS design aesthetic early on. You’ll see them referenced across various collections, be it vintage royal costumes from the Mughal era, or examples of intricate detailing in palaces or wall art – they all find a way into our collections. Likewise with ‘Modern Mughals’, it has informed the collection’s construction, silhouettes and embroidery, which have been interpreted in an Indian context but also modernized to appeal to the contemporary bride. This collection is a work in progress and we will keep building on it. With it, we’ve also gone back to our original PS colour palette of muted, soft tones and blush shades, after a lot of boldly-hued collections in the last two years — something a lot of patrons have noticed and are happy about as well.

You have mentioned that the Kala Ghoda neighbourhood has been a significant inspiration for you. How has the art deco heritage of Mumbai influenced your design philosophy, and how did you incorporate that inspiration into your latest store’s design?

It’s evident in all the detailing in the store. The store has a very soft vintage charm to it. You’ll notice a lot of fluted glass and wall panels as well as art deco lights. Even the colour palette lends itself to the aesthetic. We’ve added some colonial-inspired furniture and wooden accents to complement the space. I’d say it’s a great reflection of my taste in interior design as well.

Can you walk us through the design process of creating the PS @ KG store, and how did you and Laila Malpani collaborate on its aesthetic?

Laila is a close friend, so the design process was very seamless as we both had a good sense of the other’s aesthetic and working style. We met once, where we discussed my brief and vision for the store. The first layout Laila presented was exactly what we were looking for, and what you see as manifested in the store today.

What’s next for the Payal Singhal brand, and how do you envision your design journey evolving in the future?

We have a new store coming up in Delhi’s Dhan Mills along with Ogaan. Alongside that, the focus has been on building Payal Singhal into a lifestyle brand, not unlike international fashion houses. We are already well on our way with collections not just in clothing and accessories but also jewellery, footwear, home furnishings, gifting and tech accessories.