Meet the fashion designers to stars like Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, and Kareena Kapoor Khan

Sabya and Manish Malhotra may rank high on the popularity charts, but film stars are now preferring lesser-known creative designers.

There is always a creative and brilliant fashion designer behind a celebrity’s quirky, understated, overstated, or striking look.

Whether it’s an airport look, runway appearance, party attire, or a red-carpet arrival, fashion designers have become as popular as stars themselves.

Payal Jain, Shivangi Lahoty, Nivedita Saboo and Payal Singhal

It’s interesting to note while a Sabyasachi or a Manish Malhotra creation may be a hit, stars are also increasingly preferring creative lesser-known designers and wearing them with elan.

Here are four fashion designers who make your favourite celebrities look beautiful, every inch of the way.

Payal Jain

In a career spanning 25 years, fashion designer Payal Jain has been one of the leading names on the fashion scene, working with Indian textiles to create a brand that she calls a “Western body with an Indian soul”.

After completing her course in fashion design at FIDM San Francisco, she returned to India and opened a studio in Hauz Khas, New Delhi. She was greatly influenced by the works of Madeline Vionnet, Paul Poiret, and Coco Chanel.

Payal designs classic and contemporary clothing with strong Indian vibes. This blend of the East and the West has found favour with many celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Priyanka Chopra, Saina Nehwal, and Deepti Naval.

The designer also works and raises funds for a number of charities, including Vidya School (for economically weaker section), Vatsalya Foundation (for street children), and Cancer Patient Aid Association (for cancer patients).

In an earlier interview with HerStory, Payal said, “My dream and hope is to someday adopt an entire craft community and provide livelihood, education for their children, comfortable living, hygiene, and medical facilities for them and their families. I am working towards it and I hope it will soon be a reality,” Payal says.

Nivedita Saboo

For Nivedita Saboo, becoming a fashion designer was the culmination of a childhood dream. After graduating from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) at the age of 19, she worked at Arvind Brands and learned the different aspects of fashion.

She came back to her hometown in Pune from Mumbai in 2001 to start her own fashion label.

What started as a humble beginning with one sewing machine and a tailor has grown into an eponymous label, Nivedita Saboo Couture, and dresses celebrities like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Ayushmann Khurana, Jacqueline Fernandez, among others.

Nivedita built her own manufacturing unit in 2015 and employed traditional crafts and textile artisans. She now has stores in Pune and Mumbai. Recently, she received the prestigious National Award and Bharat Gaurav for excellence in the field of fashion.

Payal Singhal

Fashion designer Payal Singhal started her eponymous label in 1999, in a small office space in her father’s factory. She had just graduated from The Parsons School of Design in New York. She moved to New York after her marriage in 2004, and went on to do certificate courses in branding and management. She established standalone stores in Manhattan and New Jersey, the first Indian designer to do.

In 2010, Payal returned to India and started working on rebuilding her brand. Today, it caters to a large clientele from South Asian communities, including Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Irani, Nepalese, and Indian people across the world.

She is a favourite with Bollywood celebrities like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, and Farhan Akhtar, among others. 

In an earlier interview with HerStory, Payal said, “Young designers must work with an established designer before venturing out on their own. Don’t be in a rush to make it because it takes patience and perseverance.”

Shivangi Lahoty

With celebs like Swara Bhasker and Mithila Palkar endorsing fashion designer Shivangi Lahoty’s fashion startup Inaaya & Co, the designer is making waves in the space.

Shivangi was just eight years old when she decided she wanted to study fashion. The Mumbai and Ahmedabad-designer realised this when her father brought home a magazine with renowned designer Ritu Kumar on the cover, and explained who she was.

As a student of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Mumbai, Shivangi worked with a number of karigars on diverse projects. Maintaining a friendly rapport with them made it easier for her to go back to them for Inaaya.

At present, Inaaya works with handloom fabrics sourced directly from Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Kota, Maheshwar, and Hyderabad, and ensures fair wages for karigars (artisans).

Shivani splits her time travelling between Ahmedabad, where she has her flagship store, and Mumbai, where a lot of Inaaya’s sampling happens.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)