October 18, 2020 Asmita Aggarwal

Charmed Life


Soulmates peace and grace find a place of pride, in Jyotika Jhalani’s ode to a spring, which garlands spring

By Asmita Aggarwal

“Our collection for SS’21 is the Talisman and the Desert Rose Collection.  The inspirations for our Talisman collection are twofold. One, the fact that Covid had engulfed everything; and people were operating from a fearful space. I decided to bring a collection that would make people feel secure and almost protected from anything evil or bad coming their way,” says Jyotika Jhalani.

Her personal practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo was becoming a surreal, and thought-provoking experience. And never before had she ever chanted for 10 hours a day. She began understanding the meaning of going inwards and coming home to the self, from entirely new dimensions, and it was a beautiful space to be in, one where creativity was truly intuitive, and sensitive, she explains.

A rejuvenated external realm was created, from this internal one. It reflects in the pieces of the collection, as a desire to create something beautiful for beauty’s sake. There’s a sense of nurturance, and protection to be absorbed from each one, this LMIFW SS’21. “For example, there are butterflies and doves, as symbols of metamorphosis, peace, and grace —- we like to think of them as talismans for a fresh lease on life. My free spirit and love for the desert gave birth to this collection. It almost gave me the freedom to play with colours of the desert and moods, themes, and the clear midnight sky,” she admits.

Dancing to the tune of Sting’s Desert Rose and being engulfed in his magical beat this collection is absolutely amazing as it has the freedom.  There are also boho-chic, and tribal-chic details to be found, through a layering effect created with metallic dots. These designs will speak to women, who thrive in a self-created space, or in their own soul-tribe.


“This collection is for strong, soulful women, who dress to please themselves. They may be in sync with the latest trends, but they will always subscribe to their own definition of style. The free-flowing drapes, unapologetically bold embellishments, and larger-than-life motifs are here to help them express who they truly are, with self-confidence,” she adds.

The pandemic made her realise people had started dressing very comfortably, communicating their own fashion identity with ease. It’s heartening to think that the persona of the ‘fashion victim’ might soon become a thing of the past, because everywhere, people are more vocal about the way they own their space, when it comes to personal styling. “In a way, one of the existential silver linings in the dark doom and gloom of the pandemic, is that people have really reconnected with themselves. They’ve worked, or are working, their way through their dark weaknesses, and rediscovering their strengths, and their ‘truth.’ It reflects in their fashion sense as comfort and confidence, because they’re now dressing for, and as, who they are, it becomes so much easier,” she explains.

Today, fashion really needs to be a marriage of individualism and the freedom to find, and embrace a distinct identity. Every one of us has been through a lot, on our individual journeys of life. If we were to look into our wardrobe, it would present itself as its own kind of self-introspection activity. We’ll all begin to recall why we brought certain pieces of clothing, or some accessories, at certain points of time in our life-journeys. That will give us insight into the motivations or desires that drive us. “What we’ve tried to portray through our presentation is that soul-searching is the way forward with all lifestyle choices, including fashion, because our choices are an extension of our personality, the sum of our conscious and subconscious decisions,” she adds.

The theme and concept was ‘Talisman,’ inspired by Janavi’s love for life, and sacred symbolism. It marries beautifully with the idea that there can be the aura of a protective kindred spirit around the wearer, who has, or tries to absorb the inherent qualities of their chosen talisman, as they negotiate the proverbial peaks and plateaus of life. The interpretation of the talisman idea is elevated with true chutzpah, as is seen in the “Spectaculars” range by Janavi, and the 1920’s glamour of the Kiera Chaplin x Janavi collaboration. “The maximalist motifs, rich colours, and over-the-top embellishments (crystals, tassels and feathers) revive the decadence of the ‘Golden Era of Hollywood,’ as Kiera calls it, a tribute to the beloved cinema divas of the time,” she says.

She further states, the shift in mediums of communication shouldn’t impact the message, especially when it’s timeless. This entire collection, especially infused as it is, with the creative touch of a woman as strong, versatile, and beautiful as Kiera, is a tribute to the woman of today. It’s designed to reignite a new sense of freedom and emancipation, so they can savour life as they want to. “Our signature is of course, our beautiful, 100% pure cashmere, along with spectacular embroideries. It’s not easy to work with something as delicate as cashmere, and our USP is in an eclectic approach to surface embroideries and craft work. We use Chantilly lace, Swarovski crystal, anchor threads, and a generous variety of sequins and beads; besides textured fabrics like velvet, and appliqué techniques, so that the multifaceted magic of cashmere comes alive. Our main play is with colour —- My cashmere ‘Paint Box’ tells the story of all my travels around the world and the colours that have a very important part to play in my design process,” she says.

The customer hasn’t changed. Their choices have evolved. There’s greater sensitivity and conscientiousness when it comes to understanding the source provenance of a product, or assessing purchasing habits. At the same time, there’s resilience and optimism as well. Customers are looking for comfort and versatility. They’re also looking for something vibrant to brighten their space, and their own mood, she believes.

This is a challenging time, but it’s also an expansive time. People have spent a lot of time looking inwards. As an extension of that, when they look into their wardrobes, they do so with the desire to refresh. They look for creations that exude easy, go-with-the-flow elegance, but they want these to be worthy investments, as timeless pieces of wearable art.

Janavi has protected its craftsmen, and ensured job security. They planned ahead as best as we could in the circumstances, so that there is purposeful work for them. They continued to receive orders from existing international buyers, as well as some personal buyers who continue to believe in Janavi. “As a brand, we’re grateful that we’re in a space where we can operate as enablers and facilitators during these uncertain times. No one was without a job at Janavi India.  I value each one of my employees and thus it’s called the Janavi India Family.  It’s a very deep connect I have with each one of my craftsman and artisans and all who have been there during my 23-year journey,” she adds.

Jyotika doesn’t think functionality and fantasy are mutually exclusive, fashion depends on the imaginations more than we care to admit, even in daily life-decisions. “Our instincts rest there, even the ones that influence functionality,” she exclaims. With the world embracing digitalisation is empowering, there’s no doubt about that. Not only has it opened new doors and interaction gateways, but it has altered the ‘language’ that brands and audiences use to communicate with each other. Real-time shows, she believes are in a league of their own, though. There’s a different sensorial attraction altogether, thanks to the experience of a distinctive venue, and a delightful array of sights and sounds because of set design, music, or audience interaction. “We have decided to launch our ecommerce website which went live on October 15th, something that got pushed due to Covid, but today selling through Instagram and other digital mediums is the way to go,” she adds.

The only way to go forward is a collaborative, integrative approach that showcases the strength and resilience of the fashion industry, stemming from the very things that differentiate brands from each other. “We need to revisit the idea of storytelling: what it means, what purpose it’s truly meant to serve, and what we may have done consciously or unconsciously, to turn its gifts into gimmickry,” she confirms. In the future, she would love to look at the idea of doing a joint show with all the Indian brands and coming up with a great story for the world to see how we Indians do it.


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