Payel Majumdar Upreti
Delhi-based JJ Valaya, a fashion designer, maximalist and tastemaker for the affluent for decades, is a father figure in the Indian fashion industry, having started his fashion week from scratch. Valaya celebrated 30 years in the fashion industry with his awe-inspiring show at India Couture Week held in Delhi in 2022. However, earlier this year saw him venture into a new management, as JJ Valaya Home was launched with its experience store at the JJ Marriott Hotel. , Aerocity, Delhi. LuxuryBook caught up with him at The World of Valaya to introspect his adventure in interior design and his perspective on what it takes to create a home. The store itself is a juggernaut, over 12,000 square feet, spread over two floors. It incorporates different sections for the entire spectrum of Valaya’s interests. More than a store, it looks like his passion project, where you can discover the whole range of his different passions, from fashion to interior decoration and photography. You feel like you’ve been invited into your home.
A home visit
Rather than individual home decor items or sections, the brand has ventured to curate interior solutions for interested parties, of course steeped in Valaya aesthetics. In the same spirit, a curved staircase diverts the gaze from a magnificent crystal chandelier, placed just in front of an equally ornate mirror. Valaya didn’t shy away from mixing styles, patterns and elements, in a confident demonstration of their mastery of aesthetics. Art deco elements are interspersed with oriental motifs in the staged living room, brimming with curiosities. Antiques from Kochi’s Jewish market can be found among sherwanis lined up for their last bearers. The numerous chandeliers reflect off the polished floors and ornate mirrors. Black and white is liberally used on floors, parapets and centerpieces to give a regal effect.
Her signature tapestries hanging on the walls go well with her latest collection on the shelves next door. The store includes a complete dining-living room-bedroom-living room set, decorated according to the Valaya aesthetic. The upholstery fabrics are collaborations with some brands he likes – for example, the rugs and carpets are all from the luxury brand OBEETEE, and the brand wants to get its own lighting design soon. Jumping into the decorating space was a natural move, according to Valaya, “I’ve always had signature tapestries, which I’ve been doing for a while now. Leela Palace Chanakyapuri has 23 of my tapestries that they ordered, for example. It was an evolutionary process for me and the brand. Decoration is part of the brand’s DNA, according to him, but all the photographs on the walls of the store are his passion.
The rule of thirds
“I’ve always been very drawn to architectural photography,” says Valaya. The locations photographed and exhibited are all familiar spaces, but the artist (designer in this case) wants you to look beyond familiarity and discover new shapes and patterns, encouraged by the way the all-black images and white are arranged, almost like a Rorschach test. All of the photographs on the walls were consciously his, “I love expressing my creativity through my photography. I’ve spent 30 years loving the industry. Architectural photography is all about playing with geometry. It doesn’t There’s no beaten track for that. You have to be your best critic, clothes have function, art involves fashion, but they’re meant to be. Creation and curation go hand in hand. It also has to have character and beautiful lighting.
Valaya’s love of theater is evident in the grand wooden facade of the large, restored Gothic chapel, which serves as the backdrop to the dining hall. Kutchi Embroidered Cushions keep the stoic piece company, a wonderful case of attractive opposites together, and an even greater commentary on the importance of style, bringing different elements together, when it comes to home decor.
Aerocity may seem like an unusual place to have a 12,000 square foot store that combines fashion, decor and photography in the middle of a business center. Valaya explains: “First of all, as a brand, we have always been unconventional in our choice of store locations. Our first retail experience was in the wilderness of Delhi. One of the best designers of the time called him a white elephant. We spent the best 15 years of my life in this space, away from the peloton. Also, I think Aerocity is definitely a beautiful region. There is a certain advantage to being located inside the JW Marriott, a luxury hotel. The proximity to the airport plays to our advantage, as many of our clients have come to consult us.
At one end of the store, her “museum” showcases state-of-the-art tailoring, with pieces that took months to design, complete with intricate embroidery, all costing over 20 lakh. It’s not for the public, I’m told, only for interested customers who come by appointment. A private room with a large oval onyx table and velvet curtains shields the exquisite pieces from the other, more public part of his store, where he has his more experimental pieces. “We want to make wedding sewing more fun. We work with materials like luxury Tencel which makes the ultimate product easy to carry and also gives it a fun silhouette.
Valaya assures me that he was involved in the design of every facet and corner of the store. Every detail has been personally chosen. The store took a long time to come to fruition. The brand had two years of absolute calm, when Valaya took a one-year sabbatical to reflect, pre-Covid.
“It always starts with a dream,” he tells me. “The store arrived after two years of reflection, to please me first as a spectator in the world of luxury – the new energy of the brand manifesting itself in a multidimensional space.” Homes had taken on a new meaning at that time, he said. “During lockdown and beyond, we have seen a lot of work from home, home entertainment. The interest in making your home a warm, timeless, extremely personalized space, a fair sense of luxury…” has become important. He feels that the store was born out of this need. Homes need to reflect personalities, and therefore the store needed to have its imprint everywhere – from a pre-designed signature chevron floor in the bar, to cupboards with the same patterns on its clothes, everything was tied to the Valaya aesthetic.
JJ Valaya – jewelers from Chandigarh, originally from Patiala, 1866 craftsmanship for generations – royal jewelry – heritage jewelry – this is why we came together
As a brand, they have always leaned towards sustainability, long before it was popular, he tells me. “Sewing is durable. I wanted to make an accessible line, Tencel luxe, that ticks all the boxes, is worn all over FDCI fashion week, and so we evolved with the help of technology to produce prettier designs. However, tailoring, especially for occasion wear, as we choose to be placed, has always been something treasured, to be passed on as an heirloom, and has an inherently long lifespan. Valaya also collaborated with one of the oldest jewelers in Chandigarh, originally from Patiala, for the boutique. Founded in 1866, the family has a know-how transmitted from generation to generation. Royal jewelry, heirloom jewelry, that’s what they work in, that’s why the brand collaborated with them, he tells me.
“As a brand, we’ve always been part of people’s celebrations, but it’s a whole different energy. Sometimes you have to push what you do best and keep pushing until no one can get away with it. approaching it. That’s what we’re aiming for,” he told me with a gleam in his eye.
You might also like:
LuxeBook Decor Special Edition
Anaita Shroff Adajania on Newlyweds 2022