If J.J. Valaya has his way, he would make sure that something or the other that carries his signature makes its way into your home. The Swarovski Sardar, as he is sometimes referred to, last week opened a 10,000 sq. ft store, JJ Valaya Life, in Delhi that houses not just his couture and prêt lines, but also showcases home décor items.
Valaya claims JJ Valaya Life is a high-end experience for people who want luxury while shopping for their trousseaus. “These days, brides- and grooms-to-be come together to shop for wedding outfits. That’s why we decided to have a floor dedicated to each, so that they can decide together.” At the La Chambre (the chamber), the bridal couples and families can consult Valaya if they are looking for bespoke bridal outfits (prices start at Rs 14 lakh). “Here, we house the Muse collection—and only one piece per outfit is made. When the outfits are ready, we hand over everything from the patterns to the embroidery panels to the bride along with (the) finished outfit, so that she knows there will be no other outfit like hers,” says Valaya.
Luxury central: (left) The Alika jacket; and an entire floor is dedicated to men’s wedding-wear and pret lines.
The other highlight of the store is The Home of the Traveler Line (THTL): artefacts that Valaya has collected during his travels. Vases (start Rs 25,000) from South-East Asia, large stone busts, kilims (tribal carpets, start at approx Rs 45,000) and tapestries from West Asia—all handpicked from flea markets and eclectic stores as individual pieces are on display and up for sale for those who identify with Valaya Home’s sensibilities.
The store also showcases a line of glass light installations (chandeliers for the rest of us) which Valaya will design in association with Klove Studio. “My signature will be that each installation will have a Venetian mirror base plate for the ceiling. I sketch the lamp ideas and send them to Prateek (Jain) and Gautam (Seth) (owners of Klove) and then they work on making them feasible.” Officially, the line will be launched just before Diwali but the store already showcases four such installations (prices are likely to be Rs 5lakh and above). If large glass bulbs and beakers, some encased in metal frames, are your thing, this could be the place for you.
JJ Valaya Life also houses Ethos, a library-cum-book store with coffee-table books for sale. “At a store like this, when trials take place the people accompanying the bride or groom get bored, hence I thought a library-cum-book store will be a good way to keep them busy.”
Though pieces from the THTL are eye-catching, would you really look at rugs, carpets, paintings, tapestries and vases when you are out to buy couture outfits? We are not sure whether mixing couture and prêt lines with home décor, furnishings and even lights is such a good idea.
With the launch of the store, Valaya also announced a line of Alika jackets—a cross between shirts and jackets that can be worn over pants, skirts, lehengas and even with saris. And thank God, the first edition piece has just one Swarovski, and a tiny one at that, on the back. These jackets will be limited-edition items— only 12 pieces of a particular pattern will be made. “I want this to be what the tweed jacket was to Chanel. Or what the Birkin is to Hermes.”
Every month, the pattern and colour will change, but some salient features, such as the silhouette, the side flap slits, the raglan sleeves and the yoke on the back, will remain trademark styles.
The jacket will be tailored to fit the person who buys it but Valaya is very clear that he will not change the colour or the length to suit an individual buyer’s sensibilities.
The current Alika, christened Iconic, is dull red and black with an antique burnished metal finish. It has beads and katori work and a line of muted green-grey tassel-like beads in the front. It will cost Rs 2 lakh and will be made to order, with a delivery time of 60-90 days.
JJ Valaya Life, 222, Gallery on MG, Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, New Delhi.