Idli’s Indo-french connection

At Vayu, a concept store in Bikaner House, New Delhi, recently there was an IDLI pop-up. Its delicious brocade collection kept me sauntering around till for I wanted to meet Theirry Journo, a bespectacled hearty man behind this eclectic label. Reminded me of his enchanting store nestled at the entrance of Narain Niwas Palace; a shabby-chic boutique hotel in Jaipur. Entering it one instantly feels a heady rush of chic French aesthetics beautifully married to Indian craftsmanship; upping their ante.

Having tried craft techniques like marquetry on marble, brocade, jacquard or wood paintings, his influence of ‘French History of Art and Painting’ is clearly seen. Career began with training as a copyist at the Louvre museum and thereafter with few atypical French creatives like Thierry Mugler and Andrée Putman.

Taking it forward Theirry and I parked ourselves at the bistro cafe within the old-fashioned building, where he delivered a monologue on his Indian journey so far.



Following are some excepts from it:

I landed in Jaipur approximately 15-16 yrs ago after my last job with John Galliano at Givenchy, as an illustrator for his collections. Had first gone to Mumbai, found it too humid, then Delhi, but Jaipur appealed for its aesthetics and the pace of life. The kind of crafts one finds there it is simply mind boggling!

Did you know Jaipur is the most cosmopolitan city in India even more than Mumbai or Delhi? People always have it on their itinerary list even when they skip the others, so that helped me choose to relocate there.

Also my close friend Marie-helene de Taillac introduced me to Munnu Kasliwal. He felt I was the best fit to curate the 1st concept store in India, because of my previous work experiences back home(Paris, France). Initially it delighted me, so I decided to give it a shot with ‘Hot Pink’.

Went around scouting for ‘modern-high’ designers such as Rajesh Pratap Singh, Manish Arora, Neeru Kumar etc in 2005. But within 3-4 years the excitement went missing. Apologizing to both Marie-helene and Munnu, I took off with my own label, a lifestyle brand mulling over slow fashion.

11 yrs ago IDLI by Theirry Journo was born. The name comes from my love for South Indian Brahmin food, specially Idli. Thought it to be less pretentious than just selling under my name without connecting with the audience on any level, before. Anyways it sounded funky too!

I design/make all my prints with my own hands. They are only reproduced by the computer.

India for me is like a real jewel for handcrafts. All luxury fashion houses are known to globally sell expensive lines backed with a narrative of exquisite manual craftsmanship unavailable to everyone. But here, in every town or city you are bound to find umpteen number of good embroiderers, printers etc.

Through IDLI’s DNA I have been working on an exotic dream. At my boutique one can sit, relax and then decide on choosing from my recent capsule collection. Am trying to recreate a kid’s reaction on being allowed to pick or wear their choice of clothes.

My work is very colourful. Actually colour is very easy to manipulate but difficult to balance. IDLI for me is style which does not get outdated every six months. And had learnt early in life, “Give power to the woman by dressing her up.”(phenomena called enclothed cognition)

Come revisit IDLI for its new line of lamps, cushion covers, carpets, furniture and women and men’s fashion, with a fun element in everything!


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