words Catherine Harris
It’s within a skilled hand embroidery atelier in Delhi where you’re first introduced to Jackie Villevoye’s beautifully intricate designs.
Finding myself on her label’s website, I am engrossed in a short Vimeo film that seems to encapsulate everything that her self-named brand is all about. It is clear that Jupe by Jackie is refreshing.
It began as a jolly collection of hand embroidered men’s accessories, specifically ties, bow ties and pocket squares that are quite simply, classy. Trim and snappy, Jupe by Jackie’s men’s look books are almost self-help towards a life full of dapper idiosyncrasies. Men everywhere should take note of Villevoye’s designs, and their exquisite ability to revitalize formal wear. The label is able to highlight how formality must not be misconstrued as boring, offering a range of hand-made ties and scarves that are individual and fabulous.
Men’s accessories can easily become exhausted, and Jupe by Jackie has managed to distinguish between the dull grab-from-the-back-of-the-closet fail safe choice, and a wonderfully stylish piece of Men’s fashion.
Since it was set in motion, Jupe by Jackie has now branched out into women’s ready-to-wear. The European quirk and energy of the hand-crafted bow ties is now wearable creativity in the form of a collection of Peter Pan collared shirts, nifty blazers with large wooden buttons, and casual, puffy A-line skirts; a girlieness about them which is such a pleasant surprise. Oliver Twist meets Parisian chic in Villevoye’s Autumn Winter 2014 collection, the fresh faces of bright eyed models grinning, pretty and aglow under their baker boy caps. The feel is of nostalgia, an almost old fashioned vibe that is reminiscent of school days, but with a freshness that is a sophisticated delight. Taffeta silks have been combined with unique hand-sewn detailing embroidered by master artisans in India, embodying a happy-go-lucky attitude that is impossible not to fall in love with.
Dutch designer Jackie Villevoye launched Jupe by Jackie in 2010, differentiating itself as a breath of fresh air amongst the crowd of sports luxe and monochrome neoprene that we see so often nowadays.
The brand is now stocked by Colette, Paris as well as Dover Street Market, and most recently made the exciting move to Asia, its signature styles now gracing the shelves of Tokyo’s Comme des Garcons Trading Museum.
What’s so lovely about this brand, and lovely really is the word, is that Villevoye has set about to create clothes that are joyful, and to be worn with a smile, and what more could you possibly ask for?
FLUX: What is it about men’s accessories that first grabbed your attention and ultimately persuaded you to create pieces for men’s formal occasions?
Jackie Villvoye: A tie is to me an important key piece in a man’s silhouette; whenever a man wants to “impresse” or dress up, a tie can give him that extra identity. Wearing a tie – directly underneath the face- interacts beautiful with the colour of the eyes.
FLUX: From where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
Jackie Villvoye: It is said by many people, many times before , but it is O SO TRUE; inspiration is around you. You only have to SEE it.
FLUX: Who would you say are your favorite designers at the moment?
Jackie Villvoye: For this moment, my favorite men’s designer is Thom Browne I would say, for his simple but great cut suits.
FLUX: The hand-embroidered designs on your pieces really set apart your label from the rest. Was this aspect of your designs always a focus for you, or was it something that evolved over time?
Jackie Villvoye: Thank you formulating this question, the way you do. You are right : It was the focus from the very beginning. I wanted to add a little extra, without being “over the top”. An accessory is allowed to be strong, as long as the rest of the outfit stays simple.
FLUX: When did your love affair with India begin, as well as the master embroiderers who you work with? Did you know from the start that they had to be involved in your pieces?
Jackie Villvoye: Indian craftsmen are to me the best in the world. They have excellent colour combination feelings; their technique is top notch and they have strong artistic grooves. It is a great honour to work with them.
FLUX: When did you know you were ready to make the transition into womenswear? Was it a hard decision or did you always know that was the path you wanted to go down?
Jackie Villvoye: It is not a transition; it is both! Elegant dresses and tops, hand embroidered are rare to be found and women need these pieces for going out or celebrating. How nice this conclusion: Jupe by Jackie is where the party is!!
FLUX: Working with Commes des Garcons must be really exciting, have you always known you wanted to team up with such an inspirational name?
Jackie Villvoye: Indeed it is a great honour and it makes me really proud. You have no idea how kind The Comme des Garcons “family” is, to me. The collaboration goes smoothly and we respect each other a lot. Japanese people are reliable people and you can build on their words. I LOVE THEM!!!
FLUX: Having branched out into womenswear from men’s accessories, are there any other projects you have in mind that you’d love to have a go at, or indeed have in the pipeline at the moment?
Jackie Villvoye: Concentration and focus on what I am doing right now takes all of my time and will take all of my time for the coming years. Living day by day and make each day a nice day, is what I believe .