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JJ Valaya's first virtual fashion show
New Delhi, September 21, 2020
"This is an exciting time. I know it's also a very trying time as well because a pandemic is upon us. But the pandemic is also throwing up a lot of options which perhaps nobody would have tried earlier. To do a complete fashion presentation virtually is something nobody thought of in the past. To actually have the entire world as your audience and everybody has a front-row seat, I don't think anything can get better than that," says veteran designer JJ Valaya.
The designer launched his latest couture collection at the first-ever digital India Couture Week (ICW) and told IANS, "This is a time when we need to share the joy and positive energy, to celebrate everything that is beautiful. We may not have a buoyant market, but this too shall pass, things never remain constant, life is full of ups and downs and we should celebrate the ups and learn from the lows. 'Bursa' is the royal nomad on a journey through time from the 13th to 17th century Ottoman empire. The opulence, the grandeur, the detail and it's culture are part of the design story."
Valaya, who started his journey three decades ago, says "there's no way you can replace the adrenaline rush of a show, the spectacle, the interaction between clothes and people, but adversity gives rise to opportunity. We are living in a digital era and one cannot ignore technology, the brand has to evolve with times and if the current generation is focused on screen time then that's the new normal."
"Being a three decade old brand has been one big adventure. Starting at a time when the industry was pretty much non existent, to a time when fashion was a buzzword and everybody is very aware of what's happening. I think I couldn't have wished or hoped for a better journey. From crawling to walking to stumbling to getting up, we had had many milestones, just doing everything on our own, learning from our own mistakes and growing beautifully, we've had a long journey of many firsts," says the designer in the video-clip that launched his collection.
He added: "What I'm really excited about today is that this is the first ever time a virtual India couture week is happening. The first time I'm showing my collection virtually. We are showing a 100 percent new collection, unlike some designers in the market. The focus is strictly on the bride and the groom, as weddings have become smaller, we are showing bridal lehengas, sarees for women and sherwani for men."
Valaya showcased his latest line-up of wedding ensembles, inspired by the culture and arts of Turkey, "I tend to name my collection after one medieval city or the region where I've been inspired for. And this year's collection is all about the magnificence of the Ottoman Empire," he reveals.
He has used burnished metallics and golds to give an antique aesthetic to the 48 pieces of lehengas, sherwanis, jackets and sarees that are embellished with Swarovski crystals, silk threads, beads, pearls and zardozi work on fabrics like silks and velvets.
Speaking of the crisis, the veteran said, "We cannot compound the dilemma, we have to rise above it."