JJ Valaya is the master and couturier of Indian textiles and clothing. For over 20 years he has invented the glory and beauty of Indian craftsmanship.
His grande finale at the Aamby Valley India Bridal Week, was nothing short of fabulous and awe inspiring. “The Azrak Collection – The Realm of the Sultan” was inspired by the very colourful Ottoman Empire. It was pure royalty in every way. Azrak, which means “rare and uncommon” in Turkish, was exactly what the Grand Finale was – an opulent and ingenious runway show in the fashion world.
It was a veritable Turkish Garden that welcomed the audience to the magnificent Grand Finale of the Aamby Valley India Bridal Fashion Week 2012. Six clumps of Turkish lamps with creepers entwined through them rose up as the show started. Small four raised platforms were strewn with baskets of flowers on either side. Two large canopies on the left and right of the “U” shaped ramp housed actors as Turkish workmen and -women.
As the lights dimmed, the Turkish bazaar came to life with four flag bearers and the actors dressed in local attire took positions on the small stages. Two gymnasts climbed up fabric trails and performed an amazing aerial acrobatics; while dancers in the balconies of the set swayed to Turkish melodies.
The show opened with a sheer paneled kurta over churidars and teamed with an ornate waistcoat. Soon the Azrak influence appeared on the grey/white shaded sari with a tiny silver bolero over a choli, net kurtas swirled over bright red churidars.
White crepe one-shoulder gown, an “A” line swing coat with velvet churidars, and an ivory tonal embroidered patch pocket jacket gave variety to the show.
The turquoise green/blue line of floor length kurtas, saris with embroidery inspired by the tiles and the bustiers brought something new to the bridal season.
The black sequin sheeting gown worn with the Alika jacket, the two long skirts and shirts in ink blue and beige with Turkish print.
Valaya’s show was not just fashion but also entertainment. Two belly dancers, Ira and Catherine, swayed to the hypnotic drums while models stood frozen in time on the stage.
The evening wear was interesting. A printed halter asymmetric gown, a trio of grey jackets worn with flared kurta, petal skirt and tights or a shaded sari, revealed the versatility of his designs.
The final five bridal couture lehengas with embellishments inspired by the theme’s art and architecture were finished and crafted with large semi-precious stones and glittering embroidery.
We all had a surprise with an amazing swirling dervish dancer, Zia Nath. She pirouetted across the entire runway. Ten minutes of heart-stopping spinning, the audience was captivated.
For men’s wear, Valaya enlisted the help of several male celebrities. Suresh Bhojwani in a rust sherwani. Restaurateur A D Singh in a grey brocade sherwani with printed salwars. Ex-model Ranjeev Mulchandani wore a black sherwani over a matching shirt. Actor Rahul Dev strutted in a black velvet jacket with white churidars.
DJ Aqeel Ali strode in a beige sherwani and shawl. Bikram Saluja looked great in a shaded white grey sherwani and music composer Salim Merchant strolled down in a waistcoat and black embroidered kurta. Emmanuel Balayer wore a grey paisley embroidered sherwani that set the festive mood. Mozez Singh and Karan Bhojwani looked dapper in elegant men’s wear. Sherwanis were ornate and the kurtas matched them in colour and craftsmanship.
To match the grandeur of the creations the fabrics were fine silks, jacquards, georgette, rich velvets, dupion, all heavily embellished with the finest of metal work, zardozi, badla, resham and inlaid with semi precious stones to create the glory of the past with the fusion of the present.
Grandeur and regal ensembles of the “Azrak” collection are a hallmark of J J Valaya, whose every creation is a work of art that needs to be cherished and as the designer brings the future of the past for his admiring audience; the magnificent Grand Finale came to an applauding close with showers of confetti.