If there was a magical barometer that measured cuteness Kimbra would break it. Part of her extra strength capacity for cute is the rainbow coloured wonder wardrobe that she wears on stage. You’ve noticed it: fantastic frocks that resemble tulle and mesh dreamcatchers comprising sequins, paillettes, beading and, sometimes, fruit. And the person responsible for all this spectacular showiness and twinkling costumery is an Australian designer named Jaime Lee. We spoke to the designer about her custom-made Kimbra frocks, how the collaboration came to be, what she watches during those long hours of beading, and how laymen can get their mitts on her unique pieces of demi-couture (hint: not readily)…
PEDESTRIAN: Kimbra has worn your designs a lot. When did the collaboration between the two of you start? JAIME LEE: Kimbra was first introduced to my work when stylist Jana Bartolo dressed her in my “technicolour dream dress” for her Parklife tour. Kimbra loved the dress and got in contact and then asked me to design her ARIA outfits.
Technicolour dream dress:
Have you designed many custom outfits specifically for Kimbra? What is she like to design for? I made both of her ARIA dresses (the gold was customised just for her) the “Bananas dress” she wore for BDO, a black lace sequin number for her performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live and we are now looking at some upcoming events to work on. Kimbra loves a party dress and LOTS of colour and texture. She’s super fun to design for, she’s gorgeous and has a great figure. Plus, if you’ve ever seen her perform live you’d know that she rocks whatever she is wearing. Its also very fun to watch how famous she is getting!
The gold ARIAs dress:
Jaimee helping Kimbra frock up at the ARIAs:
Kimbra has really blown up in the last 18 months. Have you seen an increase in demand for your designs as a result of the exposure? I have, but it’s mostly from young girls that want to buy a dress they’ve seen Kimbra wear. The amount of emails I got after the ARIAs was insane. Little did they realise the lilac dress Kimbra wore used 40 metres of silk and took four months to make.
Four months worth:
Tell me a little about the inspiration for your design aesthetic? It’s pretty self indulgent. I really just want to make beautiful things that I haven’t seen before…
Like a Banana dress?
I love how your designs are playful but they’re also quite ‘showy’ i.e. they look fantastic on stage. Have you ever had any ambitions about costume design for theatre or film? After high school I was either going to study musical theatre or do fashion design. I love theatre and film but I like to make my own design briefs. I’m sure I’m somewhat influenced by musicals because that’s pretty much all I watch while I am beading!
If you could dress anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Micheal Jackson and Gaga! For a duet.
Where can fans of your designs buy your clothes? I’m only doing custom orders at the moment because everything is so time consuming to produce. If any one wants to place an order they can contact me through my website.
What do you have planned for your label in 2012? Heaps! A few celebrity collaborations coming up and I’m working on a new collection which I’ll show later in the year overseas.
For more about Jaime Lee – or to order your own piece of fabulousness – head to her website jaimelee.com.au.
All images courtesy of Mother Father PR/ Jamie Lee