Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Majesty of Couture: Guo Pei's Spectacular Collection in Paris

Glimmering gold and rich embroidery at Guo Pei's haute couture show in Paris. Photograph by Elli Ioannou
Chinese couturier Guo Pei was relatively unknown in the West until Rihanna wore that extraordinary yellow gown with it's giant train at last year's New York Met Ball. This year, Pei is one of the first Asian designers to be invited to become a guest member of Paris' Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Our special Paris correspondent Elli Ioannou examines her spectacular second collection for Autumn/ Winter 2016/17 in the French capital

The 1920s inspired this glinting evening gown
THE opulence of ancient China, the polished style of European royalty and the drama of Hollywood screen goddess' gowns were just some of the inspirations for Guo Pei's second haute couture show in Paris. As guests entered the vast domed hall of the the Bourse de Commerce, the Paris stock exchange, it felt more like coming on to the set of a grand opera than a fashion show. Silken Guo Pei embroidered cushions with a dragon motif were there to sit on and a classical piano added a sense of calm to the cacophony of guests arriving and paparazzi photographing celebrities in the front rows.


A sleek, form fitting gown covered in shimmering sequins
A long curved wall in a muted reflective bronze with a subtly mirrored floor, added to the sense of a stage set. As the models walked across the enormous space, each gown appeared grander and more extravagant than the previous look, many worn with tiaras: a collection suitable for a royal princess or a film star on the red carpet. The artisanal work and skill that goes into the gowns is unusual even in the world of couture, some of the sequining took over three years to complete in Pei’s atelier in Beijing. There were four different themes, all designed to make a grand entrance, signalled by a change of lighting colour: silhouettes and motifs from the 1920’s with slender, sequined evening gowns; high Edwardian looks with lavish collars and a profusion of jewellery plus spectacular Hollywood dresses looking like something from a Disney fairytale with enormous hooped skirts.


Guo Pei's palette of brilliant, glistening colours
The rich colour palettes included Royal blues, electric reds and shimmering golds. Guo Pei designs luxurious couture that is all hand-made to order and the demi-couture is completed by hand as well. Each piece has an unusual attention to detail and her atelier uses traditional talismans of good luck and longevity in her embroidery, such as the symbol of the dragon, butterfly and phoenix. The designers draws from her own cultural heritage combined with influences from 1920s and 1950s Western haute couture. Her designs are certainly not for the faint-hearted but for the woman who wants to make a statement.

The lavish evening gowns look out of a fairytale book
Guo Pei first came to international attention when Rihanna wore one of the couturier’s gowns to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala in New York last year. The spectacular yellow, fur-trimmed gown with an enormous circular train was also embroidered with silver floral patterns and took more than two years for her studio to create, weighing about 25 kg on completion.


Contemporary yet luxurious gowns are Pei's signature
Although now based in Paris, Pei was born in Beijing and studied fashion there, graduating in 1986. Three years later, she had become a senior designer at one of city's independently owned clothing companies, leaving in 1997 to set up her own fashion brand. Pei's fashion style is still influenced by designs from the traditional Chinese imperial court and many luxurious pieces are in her collection are made using silk, fur and embroidery.

Dressed to be modern-day princesseses
Before she came to Paris, her work included fashion collections in Beijing and designs for the closing ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics where she designed the dress worn by Song Zuying during her duet with Plácido Domingo. The dress had 200,000 Swarovski crystals hand-sewn into the white gown. Pei has also done costume design for the  film The Monkey King wich was nominated for a Hong Kong Film Award last year. Pei’s works were also exhibited last year at the annual exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, titled China: Through the Looking Glass.

Tap photographs for full-screen slideshow
Contemporary materials yet old-style Hollywood glamour exemplify Guo Pei's super luxe haute couture collection in Paris.

 Exquisite embroidery and layers of sequins capture Pei's ability to create both luxury and a contemporary silhouette.


The glittering evening dresses highlighted the shape of the body 


A Victorian silhouette with lush accoutrements was one of the collection's highlights 



As the models walked across the enormous space, each gown appeared more spectacular than the previous look


Each gown has a great attention to detail and her atelier uses traditional talismans of good luck and longevity in her embroidery, such as the symbol of the dragon, butterfly and phoenix


Although now based in Paris, Pei was born in Beijing and studied fashion there, graduating in 1986



Three years after graduating in Beijing, Guo Pei had become a senior designer 


Edwardian luxe with high colours, a profusion of jewellery and draped velvets evoked the collections eclectic inspirations



Famous in China, fashion designer Guo Pei was a relative unknown in the West until Rihanna wore that extraordinary yellow gown with it's giant train at last year's New York Met Ball


This year, Pei is one of the first Asian designers to be invited to become a member Paris' Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture


The opulence of ancient China, the polished style of European royalty and the drama of Hollywood screen goddess' gowns were just some of the inspirations for Guo Pei's second haute couture show in Paris


A collection suitable for a royal princess or a film star on the red carpet. The artisanal work and skill that goes into the gowns is extraordinary


 The rich colour palettes included Royal blues, electric reds and shimmering golds. Guo Pei designs luxurious couture that is all hand-made to order & demi-couture is completed by hand as well



Bouncing pleated skirts gave the collection a festive atmosphere along with the sleek evening gowns


  There were four different themes, designed to make a grand entrance, signalled by a change of lighting colour




A form-fitting gown that shimmered under the lights with heavily embroidered sleeves

A gown of fluttering scalloped edges created one of the more experimental shapes in the collection 





Richly embroidered materials were combined with plain yet brilliantly hued fabrics for dramatic effect
A long curved wall in a muted reflective bronze with a subtly mirrored floor, added to the sense of drama of a stage set
Reflections of a 1950s New Look skirt twirled on the glittering runway
The diminutive designer makes her bow at the end of her runway show at the Bourse de Commerce in Paris.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...