Miranda Lambert wore a cap-sleeved Pavoni gown featuring intricate embroidery to the 2012 ceremony. The Canadian luxury label is banking on the country star making a stylish repeat of sorts when she appears on Sunday's telecast.
"She trusted us for the Grammys last year and she landed on every single best-dressed list on all the weeklies.... And now she comes to us all the time," said Pavoni co-founder Gianni Falcone. "We're actually working on a dress for her for the upcoming Grammys."
Falcone helms Pavoni — the Italian word for peacock —with longtime friend and fellow Montrealer Mike Derderian. The Canadian label's looks have adorned the famous frames of some of the music world's marquee artists.
Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, Fergie and Shakira have worn Pavoni, and fellow Canucks like Celine Dion and Nelly Furtado have also been photographed in designs from the brand.
Mariah Carey has also become a fan. She performed at the annual Christmas tree lighting at New York's Rockefeller Center last year in a crystal beaded organza and tulle cocktail number as well as a custom beaded silk and lace gown with sheer detailing. The pop diva and "American Idol" judge also wore a trio of Pavoni dresses during a recent concert in Australia.
"We've been dressing a lot of recording artists which wasn't even something that we've planned," said Falcone.
"Our esthetic has (leaned) a lot more towards a more rock 'n' roll-ish effect where it's a little bit more fun," added Derderian. "Musicians are generally a lot more experimental with their clothes, and they like to take it to the next level."
Pavoni launched in 2011. The first collection featured a handful of pieces presented to a clients in New York, and saw orders start to flow in.
During Paris Fashion Week, they showed their creations in an apartment that Derderian described as "the tiniest room you could ever think of."
"The response was phenomenal to the point where we were overwhelmed with orders. From that point onwards, we didn't have time to breathe or sit back and think `What are we doing next?' It was a roller-coaster.
Pavoni's luxe looks aren't for fashion wallflowers. From minis to floor-skimming gowns, the eye-popping creations fashioned from materials like organza, taffeta and silk chiffon are often adorned in shimmering sequins or swathed in crystals. Derderian said they use of a lot of lace and tattoo-style embroidery in their collection, and have started experimenting with floral motifs as well.
The meticulously crafted gowns retail in Canada from between $1,800 up to about $15,000. It sometimes takes more than 3,000 hours of work to create one dress, with the duo seeking out a variety of international suppliers and craftspeople to piece together a particular look. Materials are purchased from Italy and sent to India for embroidery, said Derderian.
Falcone said it's a struggle to find top-line artisans all under one roof until they open their own factory, which they're planning on doing in future. But even if they do, Derderian said hand labourers able to carry out ancient techniques are particularly hard to come by, particularly in the face of increasing modernization.
"It's really not a cost-efficient thing, it's more, rather, a workmanship thing. A lot of people have this impression that `Oh, because you go to India for embroidery...' it's because you want to get it for cheaper — but it's not true," Derderian said. "It's just a dying trade."
The label has already had a presence during awards season with "Modern Family" star Sarah Hyland wearing a crystal beaded organza and tulle cocktail number to a Golden Globes after party.
While the label would love to outfit a star for the Oscars, Falcone said often there's more involved in dress selection for celebrities than the creation itself. At times, stylists have contracts with jewellers; so, if the baubles selected don't complement the dress, they won't risk the client not looking perfect in the ensemble, he noted.
"Some of these designers, when it comes to the Oscars, it is so cutthroat that people don't realize but designers such as Armani will literally fly down in person to go see these celebrities and bring them dresses," said Falcone. "So, really, the competition is fierce."
"Very," echoed Derderian. "And who are we compared to the empire of Armani for example," he added with a laugh. "It's incredible. It's a lot of pressure."
Despite the challenges, Falcone said they feel fortunate that they've been able to pierce into the market and are thrilled that a long-shared dream of developing a fashion line has come to fruition.
"We're definitely aware of how lucky we are to have grown so much so quickly," he said.
"We make sure not to get too comfortable where we are because it could disappear as quickly as it arrived. So we always strive to be better and continue to offer a beautiful product."
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