ode boutique

Artist Interview

Payal Luthra

September 29, 2011

Payal Luthra, designer of  luxury neckwear, is our featured artist for October's Arts Night Out.  Influenced by her New York and Indian roots, Luthra creates playfully modern pieces with respect to old world tradition and quality. Bandit cowls and equestrian inspired buckles meet fine cashmere and buttery leathers.

Come meet Payal on Friday, October 14th, 6-8pm...and fall in love like we have.


How did you get started?
I am actually trained as an architect, but I had been considering the move to fashion from architecture for many years, -even while I was still in graduate school. But it was only about 2 years ago that I decided to pursue it full time. When I found the amazing cashmere mill and factory that I work with in India, it was a no-brainer, and it was the reason I decided to start with luxury accessories.

What do you love about your job?
Being able to create beautiful things! There are a lot of great things about my job, but its always exciting to see a new design come to life. I love the design process, and how each collection comes out of a different inspiration. It can be so free, -anything can spur a collection. I have also learned so much about cashmere as a material, because I am able to start with it when it is yarn, and work with a team of experts to customize how it is woven or knit, and finished. It’s a science in itself! I guess for me it is as much about the textile design as designing the finished piece.


Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration can come from anything, but I would say it mostly comes to me from my travels, and from film. A lot of inspiration comes from my Indian heritage as well, -traditional crafts, techniques, and patterns, that I like to play with and apply in a modern way.

Who is your role model?
There are many people who I admire, so I’ll cheat and give you a top 3.

  1. 1. My PARENTS - They have always been my role models. My aesthetic sense stems from them, and from my upbringing in the US and in India.
  2. Role model in fashion: PHOEBE PHILO. Not only is she an amazing designer, but she has carved a unique career in fashion where she has always prioritized quality over quantity, and innovation that is beautiful, but always relevant and functional. She has even found a way to balance her career and family, -a hard thing to do at her level that I absolutely admire!
  3. Role model from history: BERYL MARKHAM – author of “West with the Night”, who lived an incredible adventure of a life. I admire her optimism, curiosity, courage, and her constant desire to see what is beyond the horizon. Her words always encourage and inspire me.

What are your plans for the future?
If all goes well, I’d like to expand my line to other accessories, like handbags, shoes, belts…even jewelry. I’m launching my first kids collection this fall, so this is an exciting development which I hope will also grow over time. In the more near future, I’m thrilled to be getting married early next year!

If I wasn’t doing this, I would be...
I would either be a wildlife biologist doing field research, or I’d be a travel specialist.


What's an image that inspires you?
"I have this image on the wall in my studio. There is something so lovely about it. The mix of a refined black evening gown with a furry lodge hat, red lips, eyes hidden from view. Winter. It's full of contrast, with its playfulness and elegant beauty. It just sets a scene that inspires a mood."

What's your favorite line from a movie, song, or book?
“ …think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."
—Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

You’re building a robot. What does it do?
It takes care of my production details and schedules in India when I’m not there, so that I don’t have to wake up for 4am calls with my production team when I’m in NYC!

What's your go-to "happy" song?
Whatever Happened –The Strokes.

What super power would you like to have, and why?
Ooh, that’s tough. I’d say it’s a tie between being able to fly like Superman, and being able to stop time. Flying would be amazing! Besides being able to dash all over the globe within minutes, it would just be so fun. And being able to stop time would make my life so much easier! There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Plus, think of all the pranks you could pull…