jaime lee, tpff 2015
Fashion designer Jaime Lee. Photo: Courtesy of Jaime Lee

Since singer Kimbra wore a glittering semi-sheer sequinned dress at the 2013 Grammy Awards, Jaime Lee has catapulted into the international limelight with celebrities like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rita Ora and Sia wearing her demi-couture designs. Textures, bold colours and 3D textiles that definitely make a statement, each gown usually requires between 100 to 600 beading hours and can take up to three months to create.

jaime lee, tpff 2015

Five years after her debut at the 2010 Perth Fashion Festival, the Bali-based designer returns to the festival to present her SS16 collection inspired by Tokyo with its neon lights, theme parks and obsession with technology. BAZAAR catches up with the designer to talk about the inspiration behind her latest collection, demi-couture and her advice for new designers.

How did you decide on specialising in demi-couture?

It just kind of turned out that way. I really love making intricate pieces and fast fashion doesn’t have that same level of satisfaction for me—I enjoy the process.

jaime lee, tpff 2015

What inspired your SS16 collection?

My SS16 collection Lightyears is inspired by neon nightlife of Tokyo and theme parks with an impressionistic approach. I have experimented with textiles and how the surface treatment is affected in different lighting.

How did this collaboration with Kira Goodey come about? What was the collaborative process like?

We connected through a mutual friend after seeing some of her amazing custom made shoes. We went back and forth for about five months on ideas and the construction process. We designed the shoes together to work with the collection and Kira cut and made all the patterns and sent them over for beading. Once beaded I sent them back and she lasts them. It’s a time consuming process but we are both very happy with how they have turned out! I would love the opportunity to work together again, we are quite similar, only shoes are her medium.

jaime lee, tpff 2015

 

Any advice for aspiring designers?

Be prepared to work seven days a week for a really long time so make sure you’re absolutely passionate about what you are doing. Don’t listen when people tell you something can’t be achieved.

jaime lee, tpff 2015

jaime lee, tpff 2015

Text by Debby Kwong