" While shopping I struggled finding what I was looking for, ” chuckles fashion and interior designer Jackie Villevoye, warm and direct in her manner. Everything felt too homogeneous to appeal to her particular sensibility and outspoken taste.
It is specifically when her five children had flown the family nest, that the first spark for Jupe by Jackie entered the designer’s mind. With paintings, photographs and light installations hung wall to wall; ceramics, books and trinkets arranged artfully on surfaces, the house was already full to the brim with character. It was the perspective of time interminably before her, that she realized that her curiosity and penchant for vibrancy could be the first breath into her new life.
Compelled by the possibilities opened up to her, she decided to apply her passion for design to the creation of a new venture, first turning her hand to women’s accessories. “I loved the idea of designing ties for women” Silk ties appealed to Jackie’s tomboy sensibility, but she turned to hand embroidery primarily out of practicality. She realized that choosing this technique over printing would allow her to create limited quantities of each colourway and design, with minimal waiste, and maximum commercial visability. “This is me,” she continues. “The process of thinking evolves organic". No business plan.” She then travelled to India, to her the country of embroidery, in search of talented craftspeople who could execute with her, these ideas. With these bold and original pieces, her sixth and final ‘child’, Jupe by Jackie, was born.
In the years since, the brand has established a reputation for itself as a joyous resource for playful, original, intricately hand embroidered pieces, from ties, tote bags and women fashion to, more recently, opulent throws and characterful cushion covers. To this day, Jackie works with the same team of artisans in New Delhi, combining the finest Indian craftsmanship with a resolutely European aesthetic. While the brand plays a small but vital role in the fashion industry, that organic, spirited seed from which it first sprung remains at the core of all that the team does. Fashion is so hard, nowadays,” she elaborates. “We are trying to do our utmost with a little team, making beautiful stuff, bringing it to the world, making people happy. "We are fighting every day, against the big branded labels, to make it happen.”
Jackie can’t – indeed, won’t – put her finger on where her ideas come from. “Everything is in my stomach, or like the Indian say in the blood,” she says. “It’s all about art. They are instincts – wherever I am, my eyes are looking for proportions, colour combinations, little details.” This primarily way of looking at things has stood her in good stead. Despite initial rejection in the design community, the young brand was picked up by iconic fashion house Comme des Garçons and they have maintained their relationship ever since.
The collection, meanwhile, remains seasonless and vibrant—a fact that its designer puts down to the handcraft behind it. “A printed fabric is dull, it’s two-dimensional,” she says. “With an embroidered fabric, the work is laying upon the cloth, so the light catches it differently, and therefor there’s more character.” The interesting handmade outcome is central to Jackie’s definition of ‘design’.
“The Halabala chairs she recently developed are her pride.“They are one of a kind.” Each design uses a vintage Modernist chair designed by Czech designer Jindrich Halabala. Their new covers are painstakingly hand embroidered in India with an individual design, before being re-upholstered here in the Netherlands. They epitomize Jackie’s approach to interior design, with perfectly balanced colour combinations, compositions, and the utmost respect paid to proportions. The chairs lift up the environment they’re in.
“They’re not chairs, they're pieces of art
31 March 2019
Excerpt from an interview with The Rake.