AUSSIE SURPRISE: When Kimbra Lee Johnson and Wally “Gotye” de Backer won three Grammys between them on Sunday night, emerging Australian designer Jaime Lee Major hit the red-carpet jackpot. The pearl-encrusted mermaid gown was inspired by a recent trip to Broome, Western Australia, Australia’s pearling capital. The Grammys gown was made from pale turquoise silk tulle, hand-embroidered with gold beads, crystals and two kilos of freshwater Broome pearls. Due to tight schedules and a mystery virus that hospitalized Major for three days last month in Sydney, there was only one fitting, and the dress was still being finished as Kimbra walked out the door to the Staples Center.
“I had to remove some pearls because she couldn’t walk in it,” explained the flame-haired 25-year-old Perth native, who launched her demi couture label three years ago and has attracted a private clientele in Australia, the Middle East and China for her exclusive hand-crafted gowns that are priced from 5,000 to 24,000 Australian dollars, or $5,158 to $24,756 at current exchange.
This story first appeared in the February 12, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Next on Major’s agenda: bypassing Australian Fashion Week to make her solo runway debut during the Paris haute couture shows in July, a sortie that the Grammys exposure certainly won’t hurt. Noted Major, “I think 40 million people watched the Grammys last year, so I guess that’s how many will see my dress when they watch it, so that’s pretty amazing.”