Happy Anniversary, JJ Valaya!
India’s couture King talks to Cosmo about the two glorious decades spent defining the course of fashion in the country
Cosmo: Give us one word to describe the last 20 years... JJ Valaya: “Evolutionary.” C: And how has the House of Valaya evolved in this time? JJV:
“We began at a time when people didn’t understand the concept of a person’s name on a garment and ready-to-wear fashion didn’t really exist. I’m proud of the fact that our label and it’s growth has been instrumental in bringing about this dramatic paradigm shift in the concept of fashion and the role it plays today.”
C: How have you, as an artist, changed in this time? JJV: “It’s been a phenomenal learning experience. I remember my
graduation collection at NIFT was a collection of pure Ivory; not a hint of colour or anything even remotely Indian, which is now my forte. I swear by colours and embroidery.”
C: So, how are you celebrating this momentous anniversary?
JJV: “Well, we’ve already done two big finales this year (at India Bridal Week and Wills Indian Fashion Week). We also had a vintage tour that started early this year, travelling all over the world—we picked some of the best looks and presented them in new avatars. Soon, we will be releasing a massive coffee table book which will tell a pictorial story of the journey over the last 20 years.”
C: A common misconception about
the House of Valaya is... JJV:
“That we do only bridalwear! Another fact most people don’t know is that nearly 40 percent of our work actually comes from menswear.”
C: What would you like to be remembered for?
JJV: “For creating the most amazing embroidery ever in the history of contemporary design!”
C: A signature silhouette that spells Valaya is...
JJV: “The fit and flair silhouette. I’ve never been a follower of fishtails and all. Also the glory of the Kallidaar; the concept of Kallis remain a signature.”