"Being disappointed during many shopping escapades, I felt the drive to create beautiful fashion," explains Jackie Villevoye as she showcases the latest collection of Jupe by Jackie. Having been an art collector, photographer and interior decorator in previous work lives, it was only in 2010 that the budding designer was drawn to the wonderful world of hand embroidered neck wear accessories. "Knowing that an accessory shown directly underneath the face is a strong character piece, I thought of concentrating on these "new" neck wear pieces."
With an emphasis on grace and individuality, the designer’s innate sense of style, hunger to create and overriding desire to produce the finest of products led her to India, where she sought for intensive needle art work – an art rarely pursued today. "Mapping the world, it was clear that these high skilled craftsmen are to be found in India. Indian people have deep artistic grooves and are open to contact. I travelled for two and half weeks from North to South visiting numerous work places, and got into deep conversations with a diversity of people, from Silk manufacturers to market people in Bazaars. My heart led me to the right people."
Following her fruitful search, Villevoye's designs are executed by master artisans and their exquisite hand work is beautiful, tactile and wearable. Jupe only uses the best available materials that retain their beauty, function and elegance over time. The pieces are mainly made of silk and due to the artistic feel, peppered with personality. Subtle accents, impeccable colour combinations and fine borders are fast becoming the label's signatures. Jupe has enabled an exploration and focus on a few products and seen the designer delve in to the details neckwear, learning about its components, its uses and its meanings. What have she learnt thus far on her journey? "Neck wear is of course a classic piece, used to accompany a suit or tuxedo. But when a bow tie or tie is turned into an art piece, the wearing of it overrules just the task of accompanying. It peppers the outfit, and makes the person who is wearing it more interesting. I love that extra 'touch'."
It is Jackie Villevoye's love of that extra touch that made her label's discovery so special during the menswear mayhem that was London Collections: Men back in June. A few months on and with a much needed change of pace, I was able to pause, admire and stroke the latest collection at the Showroom Next Door...
Our own shots taken at the Showroom Next Door alongside detail shots supplied by Jupe by Jackie.
In addition to the new forms of neckwear shot above, Jackie Villevoye has introduced a series of cocktail dresses, all hand embroidered or hand-beaded, tops, made in simple cuts of plain silk and blouses in delicate cotton. Each piece has an accent of embroidery and I'd love to see the designer turn her attention to menswear in a similar fashion. The designer hints that this might be just around the corner. "With Arts & Science Tokyo for example, I am doing a collaboration for their male waistcoats. They sent me the pattern; we finish it by embroidering nice fine borders - a great outcome. A shirt of course is also a nice piece to upgrade with some hand work, perhaps in the near future!"
The designs are limited and sold in a covetable list of high end boutiques around the world including Barney’s New York, l’Eclaireur Paris, Opening Ceremony and Comme des Garcons’ Trading Museum in Tokyo. Shamefully, the label currently has no UK stockists but I'm sure that will change shortly. As it is a damp Monday afternoon I'll leave you mesmerised by a short film showcasing the fine craftsmanship that combines to realise Jupe by Jackie...