Jolly and Joyful: JUJU s'amuse!
Fun, French Fashion for all
Fickle fashion. One day it's short, the next long. Low rise to high rise - I'm talking jeans, not buildings here- What's a girl to do, to look fashionable without steep price tags attached? Most everyone has the basic wardrobe building blocks but in this time of transitional weather, changing a few wardrobe pieces is a welcome change. Signature styles - whatever they may be - should keep that closet refreshed and help YOU look your best and no matter how you choose to express yourself, clothing can be a reflection of who we are, at any price range. That said, there are so many shops to discover, one of which I found and really like. The shop is on Lexington Avenue near 82nd Street and it is called "JUJU S'AMUSE". The Parisian store owner, Judith Lacroix, opened her first store in Soho in 2009. Her clothing is delightfully creative, with a bright mix of match-or not- pieces that could go with just about any wardrobe. Judith was immediately open to the idea of an interview with me. She pointed out that Hello-Janine matched her natural and honest approach and of the image she wants to project. I met with a relaxed and friendly young woman but make no mistake, she is no slouch. She paid her 10 years of fashion dues starting at Vanessa Bruno, the vaporous clothing designer (famous for her glitter enhanced canvas totes). Ms. Bruno conceived simple minimalist pieces, with a penchant for romantic, bohemian styles. The loose cuts of her line appealed to many, targetting the "Bobo chic" crowd of the Parisian 11th arrondissement gentrified district. It was there that Judith put her talent to work. She learned to design, cut and even make patterns for styles that would later become her own. She then went on to work for the Galeries Lafayette, the stylish department stores, where she was in charge of the designer section of the stores. But she had enough of working for others and decided to do something different. Her business school background helped her launch her exclusive children's fashion line, in 2000. At that time, there were very few children's clothing designers and her stylish collection sold in stores such as Barney's in NYC and the St. Barth's-originated Calypso. I might also point out that the timing of this business venture was close to the birth of her daughter, and as she was immersed in all matters children, it was a good fit -no pun intended-. In 2008, things slowed down a bit. There was a slump in the economy and there seemed to be an air of general downturn for the fashion world in Paris and other cities. It was time for a style-lift, a refresher of sorts and Judith was ready to unveil her latest brainchild: "JUJU s'amuse", which loosely translates to "JUJU's having fun". Juju, as you might have guessed, is the shortened version of Judith. Hence came Judith's answer to counter all the gloominess around her, women's clothing stores meant to project a feeling of playful insouciance, with well cut, colorful garments for women of all ages. All this without breaking the bank, which is always a stylish consideration, especially these days. The store mascot, a rubber Kewpie doll applying lipstick, is propped on a shelf near the entrance of every store. It brings to mind little girls playing dress up, clip clopping around with their mother's shoes with lipstick smeared all over their faces.
The store mascot at JUJU s'amuse
JUJU's kewpie doll is a possible subtle cue for shoppers to let loose and have some fun for a change - gosh darn it - , but there are no weird costume getups here, in fact, I was impressed by the collection's classic primness.
A classic silk tie blouse under a cashmere t-shirt.
Judith has 3 stores in Paris: in the 9th, 8th and 6th arrondissements. She also has a store in Toulouse, one in Lille, France and a brand new boutique in London. She first opened her NYC Soho store in 2009 and switched locations for the Upper East Side on Lexington Avenue in 2012. The store manager, Maud Loyer, projects a professional, courteous attitude their business wants to convey. A pretty French brunette with a welcoming smile, Maud is respectful and helpful; a welcome change from the bored looking or theatrically false sales force one often encounters in New York.
A beautiful silhouette is a sign of a well dressed woman and Judith's fashion creed is to create well made, tailored clothing, to look smart on any figure.
1218 Lexington Avenue (@82nd Street) New York, NY 10028
Open : Mondays to Sunday 10AM-6:30PM Tel 212 249 4800