Guo Pei: Couture Beyond in Vancouver Art Gallery was the fist of its kind. It’s the first time that VAG featured fashion as a whole exhibit, and it did not disappoint. To be honest, the pictures on this blog post do not do justice to these masterpieces. One has to see with their own eyes to fully understand the level of creativity, craftsmanship and thoughtfulness that have been put into each piece.
Enjoy this curated photo collection of the amazing works of art that I was so lucky to see in person!
Guo Pei’s first couture runway collection – SAMSARA – debuted in Beijing during the China International Fashion Week. Samsara relates to the cycle of life and death. The two pieces shown in the exhibit were with gold motifs and with very intricate embroidery.
An Amazing Journey In A Childhood Dream (2008)
Growing up to fairytales told by her grandmother, it became Guo Pei’s inspiration for her 2008 collection. This collection showcased elaborate origami-like fabric folding techniques, pastel shades, youthful character, playful silhouettes as well as Spanish-inspired doublet.
1002 Nights (2009)
The very iconic Rihanna 2015 Met Gala cape-gown is from this ‘09 collection. The rich canary yellow couture piece screamed opulence and royalty – actually all the pieces from this collection did. My favourite piece from this collection would be the Qinghua gown which is the traditional blue and white China porcelain. Who would’ve thought that a plate could inspire couture.
Chinese Bride (Ongoing)
How lucky is a bride that could wear a Guo Pei couture gown on her wedding day. Below is an excerpt from the gallery description for this collection…
“Traditionally the northern preference has been a one-piece qipao (a long dress), which is often red and embroidered with elaborate gold designs. The southern bride customarily wears a two-piece qungua (long skirt and top coat), elaborately adorned with golden dragon and phoenix, symbols of eternal love.”
Legend Of The Dragon (2012)
The mythical dragon and the phoenix are just some of China’s mythological creatures that created wonder and added even more richness to their cultural history. It’s so amazing how Guo Pei interpreted the power of the dragon and the grace of the phoenix into couture. The craftsmanship of 24-karat gold embroidery, Swarovski crystals and the handcrafted silk flowers are as magical as the creatures that inspired this collection.
Garden Of The Soul
My favourite collection from the exhibit! The title of this collection is perfection. Looking at the pieces makes me happy and also gives me a magical playful feeling. I just want to roam barefoot in a garden full of flora and fauna where the flowers talk and the animals let me pet them. A whimsical yet romantic collection.
In this collection, Guo Pei worked with Swiss fabric manufacturer Jakob Schlaepfer. The most expensive piece from the exhibit was the silver thread embroidery coat with dragon motif and feather collar accent.
Like the previous 2016 collection, Guo Pei also worked with Jakob Schlaepfer to design custom textiles. It is obvious that the silhouettes and designs are inspired by something holy. Some of the headpieces look like halos, some look like a bishop’s hat “mitre” and the finale piece is even inspired by a church bell.
Shoes. Shoes. Shoes.
The wow factor of the shoes are on another level too. I know I won’t be able to walk in any of those shoes, but hey, I can just sit and admire them for hours.
It has been almost 4 years since I laid eyes on these works of art, I was overwhelmed with emotions. And looking back, I feel the obligation to share the photos I have taken during my visits (Yes, I went multiple times). I hope everyone who looked at this blog post felt the same surge of emotions and creative inspiration that came to me when I was in the Guo Pei Exhibit.