The mass migration to the digital realm for the reason that coronavirus outbreak has meant coming full circle for JJ Valaya. The couturier launched his e-commerce web site in August 2020, and was now a part of India Couture Week’s first-ever digital present. Though the shift is perhaps pushed extra by necessity than by alternative, it turned out to be fairly an expertise for Valaya who packaged his new couture assortment in a good looking show-in-a-box format and introduced it to the confines of residence. “Every thing is occurring as if serendipity is at work,” he tells me. However might this imply that on-line reveals will go from subversive experimentation to a brand new various to the outdated techniques? Over a name, I caught up with the designer to get the reply, some particulars on how his couture assortment got here to be, and his greatest learnings below lockdown.
With the pandemic got here a pause. What has been your best studying in lockdown?
There have been many. By way of my skilled life, it was a good time to design the style, residence and furnishings line. By way of private life, I acquired to spend so much of high quality time with my children, which is uncommon given my busy schedule. The most important studying is that this lockdown grew to become nature’s approach of telling us to stability our lives, to not be a part of a rat race, bask in self-love, keep related to the people who find themselves near you and cherish and worth the lighter moments of life. Do not be pressured about deadlines and the variety of cheques coming in, there is a life past that.
Inform us about your India Couture Week 2020 assortment.
The brand new assortment is known as after Bursa, a Persian metropolis that holds a particular place in Ottoman historical past as its founding capital and because the birthplace of Ottoman structure. Our inspiration included all the pieces, from Ottoman silks and nomadic kilims of the interval to ‘Topkapi’ palace jewels and wealthy Turkish floral and fauna motifs. You’ll additionally discover influences of miniature work and the artwork of ‘Tezhip’ [meaning ornamenting with gold]. We have now used burnished metallics and golds to offer an vintage aesthetic to the high quality silks and velvets used within the assortment. The clothes have been additional accented with delicate craftsmanship utilizing Swarovski crystals, silk threads, beads, pearls and zardozi. It’s a 48-piece vary for women and men, revolving across the three key silhouettes of Indian weddings and celebrations: the lehenga, the sherwani and the sari together with the label’s newest addition: the IKA jacket. We partnered with Archana Aggarwal from Timeless Jewels for the ending touches.
Will digital trend reveals and shops develop into the brand new regular?
Taking pictures all the present was considerably completely different from doing a 20-25 minute dwell presentation. We spent plenty of time placing all of it collectively, however to then convert it right into a 10-minute movie is what’s thrilling. We’re a visible medium, so it makes excellent sense for individuals to see us onscreen, so it isn’t an unnatural match. I believe this will likely nicely develop into a major approach ahead as nicely. I am not saying that we’re going to cast off real-time shops and reveals, all will co-exist, however the digital will develop into even stronger. Once we emerge from the pandemic, real-time experiences will likely be extra treasured as a result of we could not be capable to substitute the sensation of going to an expensive area to strive on garments, really feel them and look in entrance of the mirror. As well as, we now have a digital existence, which is equally thrilling, particularly for these individuals who do not have entry to the brick-and-mortar shops. Each are going to co-exist, however I believe digital will play a way more essential function than it has up to now.
Since you latterly launched your e-commerce portal, what ideas do you will have for consumers shopping for couture on-line?
Couture isn’t purchased, it’s invested in, as it may be handed right down to generations. So, if you’re investing in it, which implies spending a hefty quantity, then go for manufacturers and designers which might be recognized for his or her high quality as a result of then you definitely can not go incorrect. When shopping for on-line, it would pay to chorus from newer names whose high quality and magnificence is untested. Second, my recommendation is to purchase one thing timeless. And all you should have is a imaginative and prescient. Do not be overtly experimental when shopping for very costly garments. Select items that may stand the check of time, and that is essential when shopping for on-line as a result of that approach you’ll have nice high quality and an incredible product which can final. Lastly, do not observe traits blindly and do not be swayed by what others are carrying. Be satisfied on what works for you and what outfit resonates with you earlier than you indulge.
What is going to luxurious imply within the post-pandemic world?
Vogue seasons globally are being lower down to 2 compared to 4 or 5 earlier. With bi-annual seasons, persons are going to give attention to good high quality merchandise and enduring designs. This resonates with what we imagine in as a model. For us, luxurious is to create masterpieces and with the ability to obtain the subsequent era of our shoppers coming again to us, which is the most important check of time and generations.
In a world the place sustainability is greater than a buzzword, what’s your standpoint as a couturier?
Couture by advantage of its wearability calls for richer materials and therefore, strikes away from that path. The opposite function that couture performs very amicably is ‘sustainability’—we create clothes which might be high of the road and enduring. In different phrases, you might be shopping for lesser garments, however good high quality garments and they’re lasting you longer, which is a service that couture has all the time supplied.