It’s easy to see why Chinese designer Guo Pei hasn’t turned out to be a marvel. In America, she is best known for designing the gorgeous, fur-trimmed, heavily embellished yellow dress that Rihanna wore to the Met Gala in 2015. The dress sparked countless memes and easily placed the pop star at the top of the list. best dressed this year. But Pei has been a household name for a long time in the Chinese fashion scene, since she founded her namesake brand in 1997. She has spent the past 20 years dressing the country’s top singers, actresses, royals and politicians. .
So it seems unfair that Pei is known internationally for just one of her dresses, while she maintains a workshop of 500 artisans who have sometimes toiled over two years on a single piece. But when asked about her favorite creation of all time, she doesn’t hesitate to mention this yellow creation.
“Of course, Rihanna wearing my design had a big impact; the international fashion industry has gained a new understanding of me, ”she told The Observer. But she also mentioned having a particular fondness for her Legends collection, which was bowed to Haute Couture Week in Paris last January. Pei is only the second Asian designer born and raised to be invited to join the highly selective Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and she is reaping the benefits of this wide international exposure and also learning from it.
“Compared to France’s history with fashion, which has accumulated layers of romantic artistic foundations, America has a relatively short history with fashion. There is, however, no doubt about America’s influence and perspective in the fashion world. Having participated in the “China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibition at the Met Gala made me realize that beauty is a common language that connects the world, ”she explained.
As Pei’s profile grows, the Met isn’t the only museum to capitalize on her dresses with fascinating details. In July 2015, his first solo exhibition was at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris; in September 2017, the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta hosted a solo work for the designer, which was her U.S. premiere. Today, SCAD’s Pei Ling Chan Gallery in Savannah, Georgia, opens another exhibition of Pei’s creations, with a focus on a broader purpose of his creations.
The highlight of “Guo Pei: Couture Beyond,” the 40-piece show in Atlanta, is the Daikin dress, which took Pei and her team 50,000 hours. She considers the incredibly complex strapless dress to be “one of the most representative and important models” of her career; it was made from a series of gilded panels by 100 artisans and yes it weighs a ton. This exhibition also features the abstract blue and white dress inspired by Chinese ceramics that was once on display at the Met Gala; in comparison, it took a paltry 10,000 hours to create.
On Friday, October 27, the Savannah Show opens, showcasing ten complete Pei looks, including shoes and accessories. The inclusion of shoes offers a different perspective on his penchant for combining contemporary design with the history and mythology of his native China. There will be a short film to watch, created by HOWL, a creative collective founded by three former SCAD students. Jim Lind, Patrick O’Brien and Elliott Ross took Pei’s designs to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, to contrast his rich designs with the simple setting of nature. Also scheduled to align with the two SCAD exhibitions, which both run through March 2018, the Savannah College of Art and Design has prepared a book on Pei’s work, ranging from photographs of his latest designs to images. archive, which will hit shelves in December of this year.
“Glorious is the word that comes to mind when you see the dresses of Guo Pei, ”said SCAD President Paula Wallace. “The drape confuses the spirit with its complexity, and the hand-sewn iconography is of divine origin. And permeating everything, filling the eye and the heart with light, are the colors. Imperial red and gold, the blue and white of Chinese porcelain.
But aside from the stunning embroidery and 3D details, Pei hopes visitors to both exhibitions can sense the sincerity she infuses into each of her creations. “I hope that by exploring these little details, the audience can understand what it means to create something with all their heart,” she said. At the very least, we anticipate that the general public will appreciate that Pei is one of the most talented designers of our time.