This Feels Familiar: Déjà Vu Reopens, in KingstonTuesday, October 19, 2021
In 2007 Rajesh and Neha Kripalani opened Deja Vu fashion boutique, which quickly became a jewel in the Shoppes at Rose Hall crown. For those who remember, it was the go-to spot for impeccably crafted clothing and unique accessories. It was a destination for many of Kingston's discerning shoppers, especially during the Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival. In its heyday, getting your hands on a pair of eye-catching shoes or a purse/clutch, the likes of which had never been seen before in the West, was the ultimate triumph.
Building on its success, the Kripalanis opened the men's boutique in 2011, introducing brands like shirt manufacturer Stone Rose to The Rock. Both stores heavily relied on the Kripalanis' extensive network of artisans in India to feed the wardrobe appetites of their clientele. However, in 2016, almost a decade after its opening, the Kripalanis closed their beloved Deja Vu, leaving a void in the retail market for customers and within Rajesh himself, for whom retailing and client experience come naturally.
Fast-forward to the present day. Deja Vu 2.0 is now open and ready to drum up feelings of nostalgia while satisfying your contemporary wardrobe needs.
Speaking with Tuesday Style Fashion (TSF), Rajesh Kripalani shared that opening a store in Kingston had long been a dream of his. “[When we had Deja Vu] I looked for a location in Kingston for 15 years,” he said. He had a few requirements that he would not budge on and sporadically perused Corporate Area commercial real estate opportunities. With the building of Progressive Plaza on Barbican Road, Kripalani found what he was looking for. Including his lucky number. “All my successful businesses have been located in shop number one,” he said. Deja Vu occupies shop number one in Progressive Plaza, so we reckon that's a reflection of good things to come.
The fashionable couple's October schedule is chock-full. Between buying trips in Vegas and multiple cities in India, they are participating in the Jamaica Observer Takes Style Out shopping event. They will have lots more offerings by then, with much more arriving just in
time for Christmas, including shoes and made-to-measure sports jackets and suits utilising Valentino fabrics. Start saving, folks!
Upon entering the boutique, you're not sure where your gaze should land. Should it be the gorgeous maxi dresses, the humidor (yes, you read that correctly), the accessories, or exquisite hand-beaded caftans? As former Vogue editor-in-chief (and special consultant to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) Diana Vreeland was fond of saying: “The eye has to travel.” At Déjà Vu, the eyes scan their boarding pass.
Back are the knockout clutches and purses; Stone Rose men's shirts; precious and semi-precious stone jewellery; hand-embroidered blouses; and, of course, the dresses that move on a woman's body like a hot knife through butter. There, too, are gorgeous gifts like silk cushion covers and the more choice options from famous perfume lines like Bond No 9 Dubai Gold and Creed Aventus. But despite the alluring items at Déjà Vu, one goes for Rajesh, who is gifted at creating an enchanting client experience.
Retail is in his blood. His father was in the garment business, and Rajesh knew that he wanted to go into business for himself from an early age. Passion doesn't begin to describe how much he's dedicated to his businesses. His Montego Bay jewellery store, Rendez Vous, has a reputation for exceptional items and excellent client service. If you're lucky, you'll run into Neha as well. A glimpse of her is like seeing Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan in the wild. She's stunning and exudes sophistication. Rajesh though is the gregarious one — the ship's commander who has a quip for everything, with Neha the silent force, the captain that ensures that it sails.
Déjà Vu will succeed in Kingston. It offers an upmarket boutique experience more common in fashion capitals. For example, the Kripalanis hosted the first (of many) private shopping events for a particular group of ladies. Rajesh best describes the Déjà Vu experience: “Very famous, amongst very few. Always, number one!”
Shop #1 Progressive Plaza
24-28 Barbican Road