French homeware and fashion designer, Thierry Journo, has the ability to create beauty wherever he goes. Since moving to Jaipur in 2003, Thierry, has moved the Idli boutique in Jaipur a few times and with each new location he makes the interiors ever more beautiful and also surrounds himself with a lush and fragrant garden. Thierry is a flamboyant character with an incredible imagination, a great eye, and his passion for history results in collections that are inspired by particular design periods such as 18th century French Rocaille.
Thierry started his career at the Louvre in Paris and then worked with designers such as Thierry Mugler and Andreé Putman. Thierry is a talented artist himself, having collaborated with John Galliano in Paris to illustrate his collection. Here in Jaipur, Thierry’s design talent, with women’s and men’s fashion and homewares, comes to life working closely with the skilled artisans of India, both Jaipur based and also some specialists, such as the brocade weavers of Banaras. Thierry uses sumptuous fabrics and has fully embraced India’s exuberant colour palate. It honestly feels if you have not visited Idli, that you have missed one of Jaipur’s greatest jewels.
Our conversation took place leading up to Diwali, in late October during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
What were you just thinking of?
I have been appreciating my new place here in Jaipur and thinking how lucky I am to be here now and not in Paris, or London or New York. November is the best month in Jaipur, the sky is blue, and the light is sublime.
What are you doing for the rest of today?
I am working on new designs; one is a garden motif inspired from Mughal gardens and the other is inspired by a monument from Indian heritage. It has been so wonderful to have time to create, and this afternoon I am working on the new line of cashmere that have been embroidered with my designs.
How "real" does the threat of the virus feel? Do you know any one personally who has contracted the virus?
It is not too crazy here in Jaipur, in fact I think of the impact as being quite soft. Covid is here for sure, but people seem to recover quickly, and the infection is not too intense. People I know seem to recover within a week which is so very different from what is happening in Europe when it appears thousands are very, very ill and dying from Covid. In Jaipur I wear a mask and use hand sanitizer and take care. Jaipur seems quite stable and safer than the bigger cities of Mumbai and Delhi.
If your own health and that of your family/friends is ok; then what is the greatest impact on your life (and on your work) of the pandemic?
I miss my family and friends. Pre pandemic I would travel every few months and move between India, France, Italy and Thailand. However, this year has actually been very creative for me, in March I moved the boutique into a very beautiful new space. I also love my home in Jaipur, so I am lucky my Idli universe is very beautiful. I am very grateful for my work and my universe and feel satisfied. I love the intensity of India and her people; the light is magical, and I really appreciate the skill of the artisans who I work with. In India is really does feel like everything is possible and I can create such beautiful things and I can do very small numbers here in India.
What are you looking forward to post pandemic?
I would like to travel to a new place, such as Australia. I would also like to head to see the sea again and spend some time on a small Greek Island relaxing in the sun. I am excited about returning to Rome, and spending time in Southern Italy. I am fascinated by history, and traditional culture, and I want to learn more about the history of crafts and take inspiration from historical cultures. I love to work.
Has there been anything positive from the pandemic?
I think many people have spent more time in their home than ever before. People have become more focused on creating better spaces at home and are improving their interior design more so than thinking about fashion. I have appreciated having more time to enjoy my home and my lovely garden.
Is there an innovation (service, product, science, media) that you have been impressed with? Have you made any changes or thought of any that you will implement going forward?
The pandemic has forced many to embrace the digital world. I had resisted thinking that luxury brands and fashion didn’t work online, but the pandemic has forced me to create Idli online and it is going really well. Everyday I learn more and I think about how to capture the spirit of Idli online. We only opened in September and already we have been busy with orders from Sydney, New York, London and Paris. It is wonderful to be in touch with the world this way.
What does your personal future of travel look like? When and where will you go first? What are you dreaming of?
Since the lockdown lifted in Jaipur, we were busy moving into the new boutique. It was an intensely busy six weeks with great energy. I then was focused on the online store and am only now just thinking about a few days away. I think it might be nice to drive to Jaisalmer and stay somewhere special. When safe I would like to travel to South India to the coast, perhaps to Goa or to Kerala.
What are you finding inspiring now?
I have an amazing library, over two thousand art books which I love. I am inspired by the story of art and I like to get immersed in historical periods such as Baroque and Rococo that reached their peak in the late part of the 18th century and also, I love 16th century France. I have enjoyed doing virtual tours of Museums. As well as looking at what I know I like. I also push myself to explore things that are not my cup of tea, such as minimalist art. I am interested in so much and have been enjoying the time to look at magazines such as AnOther as well as A World of Interiors, Vogue, and more.
What has made you laugh out loud most recently?
I watched a Langur monkey on the terrace, who seemed to take a dog for a walk, seemed very human.
Given we are about to celebrate the festival of lights, what has brought light into your life in the last 12 months?
My work and my Jaipur friends. I was faced with a decision, that I must stay in India through the pandemic to keep my business alive, I am so glad to be here and to have to found such a super new space.
The Idli Jaipur boutique is located at S-1, Subash Marg, C-Scheme, very close to the Rambagh Palace Hotel. Open Mon to Sat 10am to 8pm and Sun 11am to 6pm. The store phone number is 0141 305 2999 or you can reach via WhatsApp on +91 95213 96996. Online shopping via the website is also possible, and Thierry ships both within India and internationally.