Famed Indian designer and courtier, JJ Valaya collaborated with Oscar-winning costume designer, Ruth Carter for the recent Marvel film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The pair worked closely to design special pieces for Angela Bassett who plays Queen Ramonda in the movie. This is the duo’s second project after previously working together on Coming 2 America, starring Eddie Murphy. Valaya says, “This is our second project in Hollywood with Ruth Carter and this one of course is extremely special in more ways than one.”
Queen Ramonda was an exception in the Marvel project, which is renowned for its sci-fi interpretation of the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda. She wore floor-length dresses and matching headpieces with intricate embroidery. Her clothes were generally made in muted colors, such as somber white, beige, royal red, and purple.
Valaya and his team worked on this collection for nearly eight months, and it involved a lot of to and fro and a lot of R&D. They worked very closely with Ruth’s Studio in Los Angeles and created specialized fabrics, specialized techniques, design, prints and to make sure that the palette of the look & feel was very similar to the look and feel Ruth had in mind for the entire film.
Valaya and Carter worked on 70% of Queen Ramonda’s looks, while two or three simpler pieces were handled by Ruth herself. JJ says it was very important to reflect Queen Ramonda’s character in the pieces. In the new movie, she becomes the Queen and has to appear very authoritative and powerful, hence they worked in extreme detail on how to create the aura that the Queen needs when she’s taking control of the kingdom.
The Delhi-based designer later took to Instagram and shared a note to thank Ruth Carter and her team for involving House of Valaya, in the behind the scenes for the Marvel film. “I enjoyed the interaction and the journey. To be able to work with somebody on a project which is one of Hollywood’s largest projects and to be able to given a chance to create something which looks absolutely wonderful on the big screen and leaves an impression, I think all these things are very special. But more than anything else I suppose it is a lot of gratitude for being able to work on something so wonderful and with someone so wonderful”, says Valaya.