JJ Valaya’s exquisite love affair with ancient civilizations and global cultures has been exhibited, yet again, via his couture collection, Rumeli: A Summer Saga, also known as Rumelia (etymologically ‘Land of the Romans’), that pays ode to the Ottoman Empire—delving deeper into the conquests of the Turks.
"Every year, for the past 30 years, my inspirational journeys start somewhere deep in my soul and are triggered by something visual that was arresting...especially the ones connected with the Spice and Silk Routes. Words are merely an introduction to the visual splendour that emerges from the deepest recesses of creativity, and I am confident that this collection, too, will scale those magical levels of excellence that the brand is now synonymous with for over 3 decades,” says the designer.
On the quest for interpreting the historical South-eastern Europe region and its umpteen nuances and facets, the couturier has turned to lush fabrics, inspired prints, and delicate embroideries in his collection, in an attempt to seamlessly blend Turkish elements with riches from the Balkans. Brides Today spoke to the designer on the sources of inspiration behind his collection, the future of bridal couture, and more.
Brides Today: Tell us the inspiration behind your Spring Summer 2022 collection.
JJ Valaya: "The Ottoman Empire has been of particular interest to me, and this year, the die-hard Royal nomad in me continues to explore the conquests of the Turks of the past. For this season, we move deeper into our inspiration for our Fall ‘21 collection, creating an all-new avatar in Rumeli: The Summer Saga. Also known as Rumelia, it was the name of a historical region in South-eastern Europe that was administered by the Ottoman Empire, corresponding today to the Balkans. The resultant cross-pollination of cultures, people, and other nuances throws up several interesting facets which I have interpreted through this collection."
Brides Today: What fabrics and embroideries have you used in this collection?
JJ Valaya: "Sheer meets opaque—from silk threads to antique metallics, it’s a journey which discovers its roots in a curious mix of Turkey meeting the Balkans. Georgettes, crepes, organzas, in shades varying from pastels to neutrals, and our surprise palette for this summer, black."
Brides Today: What, according to you, is the mood of bridal couture this year?
JJ Valaya: "Buoyant, to say the least. The post-pandemic urge to break out and celebrate cannot be subdued. Indian weddings are slowly—but surely—returning to their original avatars, as celebrations are full of joy, laughter, and a larger-than-life presence."
Brides Today: Do you have a favourite piece from the ‘Rumeli’ collection?
JJ Valaya: "Always a difficult question. I choose to refrain from answering this one, as every single piece of the collection was crafted with love, respect, and attention."
Brides Today: Have you reimagined and reinterpreted any of your iconic silhouettes for this collection?
JJ Valaya: "We’ve played around with our signature puff sleeves in a new interpretation. Our blouses have evolved with necks, backs, and arms being highlighted. It’s simply a collection that demands attention from the wearer, through its modern and sexier twist. Entrenched within the multiversity of Rumeli lie two facets of my being; Alika and Ika. An enigmatic concept creation, the two bring about the birth of an iconic, captivating couture jacket and silhouettes that are everlasting and timeless."
"Ethereal and romantic, the jackets shine through with their versatility. Easily paired with a sari, adding a dash of modernity to the traditional silhouette, or even with a pair of jeans, each outfit is more stunning than the other. Ika, a concept sister to Alika, is the more cost-effective option. Two spectrums of the same persona—laden with luscious colours, seamless fabrics, and a soul of their own—the duo is a bestowment of the beauty brought about by the chaos of contradiction: pieces to marvel at; elevating each ensemble."
In an exclusive tête-à-tête, the master couturier opens up about the inspiration behind his Spring Summer ’22 collection, and shares his two bits on the mood of bridal couture for this year.
The best make-up setting sprays and loose powders in the biz to help you seal the deal.