The stage is set. Jaja, very warmly, welcomes me as if we’d known each other forever, though it’s the first time we meet (even if it’s true that we’ve been following each other on Instagram for quite a while! Ah, Instagram friendships – so virtual, but so nice…). Have I already mentioned that Jaja is of British, French, Spanish and Austrian descent, and that she spent her childhood in Luxembourg and the South of France (is that all)? That too sets the stage: she is cosmopolitan, insatiable, hyper-curious, and a Jack-of-all trades. Jaja writes and takes poetic, inspired photos for Purple, Flair, Tank and WOW, and has her finger on the pulse like no one else. She also has the most insane collection of rock’n’roll T-shirts of anyone I know! Jaja lives with her partner, Mat, an art director/graphic designer/illustrator whose work I’ve loved for years. He is addicted to airbrushing and 80’s imagery, and is one of the founders of Big Active, one of the most well-known, 100% Brit design studios around. He recently shot a video called Electric Jungle for Kenzo, and makes sublime collages for Please! Jaja and Mat moved into their cute apartment in Hampstead two years ago, and filled it with tasteful details. The window in their kitchen is a museum on its own: they collect Pierrot lamps, and Michael Jackson-themed knick-knacks. In their apartment, the photos and works of art are signed by Helmut Newton, Peter Beard, Juergen Teller, Pierre Le-Tan, and Tracey Emin (a Kleenex framed and hung in the bathroom, so chic!). Pillows from Maison Darré are scattered across the vintage couch, tapestries from Jean Picart le Doux decorate the walls… it is a feast for the eyes. They are true English aesthetes, cool and bohemian as we like them.
Jaja, with a name like that, is inherently intriguing. It is with appropriate curiosity that I visit Jaja’s home on a beautiful Monday morning in February, high up in Hampstead, right next to an old cemetery and a little church…