Double Grammy award-winning Kiwi star Kimbra looked a million dollars as she stepped out onto the red carpet in Los Angeles last week. As the 2kg of pearls on her dress glimmered under the spotlights, the 22-year-old singer looked every bit the global sensation as she rubbed shoulders with Beyoncé and Adele.
Fashion Police host Joan Rivers may have described the gown, created by Perth’s Jaime Lee Major, as a “Jaime Lee Major mistake”, but in an exclusive interview with the Weekly, the fashion designer reveals the hours of love that went into making the unique look.
Twenty-five-year-old Jaime Lee says the show-stopping frock was made from soft silk tulle, adorned with pearls, Swarovski crystals and gold beads. It was weeks in the making as Jaime Lee painstakingly hand sewed the embellishments onto the gown, which was inspired by the natural beauty of the Western Australian landscape.
“[More than] 100 hours went into this dress,” says Jaime Lee. She had a fitting with the singer a month ago and then sent her daily photo updates on the dress' progress.
“I wanted her to walk out on the red carpet feeling like a megastar, which she is. “She is an amazingly unique talent – a stunning beauty – but she is also a little bit quirky and not your average pop star.
“I feel we make a good fit in that we are both a little left of centre, but also love pretty, shiny things.”
“I felt like a princess in [my dress], which is kind of what it’s all about at the Grammys night,” Kimbra told the Weekly.
Days after the Grammys, the magic of the night hadn’t worn off for the Somebody That I Used to Know singer. “I’m still playing it all over in my head, especially the moment when Prince said both my name and Gotye’s,” says Kimbra.
“I think that was a pretty crazy moment and it sent us both into a state of shock. Just to be in the same room as some of the people who inspired me to start making music...
“We were sitting in the row with Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Adele – they were all down the same aisle as us. That was a pretty surreal experience in itself.”
Far away from the glitz of Hollywood, New Zealand is also celebrating Kimbra’s success. There is a sign outside the gates at Kimbra’s former college, Hillcrest High School, which reads, “Congratulations Kimbra, two Grammys!”
Hillcrest High’s assistant principal and director of the choir, Susan Radford, says Kimbra has never forgotten her roots and even visited her in Hamilton last year during one of her brief visits.
“She still thinks about Hamilton as her home – that’s what grounds her,” says Susan. “It’s not about fame and fortune for Kimbra – it’s all about her artistic integrity. There’s nothing superficial about her.”