Style / Fashion

China’s Leading Couture Visionary is a Chinese Folklore Wonderland

Chinese Couturier Guo Pei’s book is emblematic of the growing global influence of China and the internationalization of the fashion scene.

Jul 15, 2018 | By Lynette Kee


When it comes to Haute Couture, majority would instantly draw the connection to top fashion capitals which are Paris, London, Milan and New York. However, a silent dark horse of the industry is Guo Pei, the couturier responsible for Rihanna’s show-stopping yellow gown at Met Gala 2015. Early this year, Guo Pei published the first major book on China’s leading couture visionary, revealing the intricate craftsmanship and imperial glamour behind her incredible designs.

Chinese Folklore Rendered in Glamorous Fashion

Guo Pei is notably one of the world’s most renowned Chinese couture designers. She is celebrated for both her dedicated artistry and theatrical sensibility: Rihanna’s gown, for instance, took nearly two years to create. She had also once sent a gown adorned with 200,000 crystals to the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. This convergence of fantasy and couture craftsmanship has won Pei comparisons to Alexander McQueen, as well as an invitation to the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, making her the first Chinese national designer to earn that honour.

In Pei’s book, also her first published monograph, features stunning images of models wearing her garments portrayed as figures from Chinese mythical narratives such as Legend of the Dragon and One Thousand and Two Nights – Glamorous queens in majestic gowns stand among otherworldly castle grounds, and pixie-like characters in glittering costumes roam through mythical forests, all of them presented in imperial opulence of Pei’s clothing.

From the ornate embroidery to the intricate designs, the grandeur of each unprecedented detail achieve through time-consuming, hand-executed techniques is revealed in the photography. The designer’s book is emblematic of the growing global influence of China and the internationalization of the fashion scene. Rich women no longer felt that a Paris dress was necessarily better than one sewn elsewhere. While Paris is still pre-eminent in the fashion world, it is no longer the sole arbiter of fashion.

Additional studio shots of the garments showcase their ornate details

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