Mention 'luxury', and the typical connotation is with ostentation and being larger than life. Fashion designer Payal Jain begs to differ though: "The more simple it is, the more luxurious it would be. Luxury does not have to be ostentatious - I believe it needs to be understated. If you are wearing a beautiful jacket or carrying a nice bag, it does not need to have monograms all over the place." Quite a refreshing take, as against the typical desire to impress!
From growing up in the bylanes of Delhi, the national capital, to studying outside India, to recently completing a glorious 25 years in the fashion industry, it has been quite a journey for Jain. "My mother is an artist - she started playing the sitar before I was born, and she was a dancer before that and has also worked with ceramics, so I have grown up with music, dance and art. I have learnt Kathak and Odissi, as well as how to play the tabla." Phew - that is quite an impressive list of skills, before even getting to what she is known for in the present day.
Turning a passion into a profession is something not many are able to manage, but Jain clearly has aced it in this regard. How was she able to do it? "I was reasonably good in academics in school, and I wanted to study architecture," says Jain. "After I completed my schooling, I interned with some architects over the summer, and it was quite a revelation - they loved the creative aspect of their work, but were pained that they could not fully exploit this aspect as professional architects working as per client and other requirements."