Until last night, not many of us could say that we were familiar with the aesthetic or even the designer’s name, but all of that changed in a matter of minutes when Rihanna graced the Met Gala red carpet in a canary yellow, fur trimmed robe followed by three assistants to tend to her train (yes you read correctly, three).
Firstly, major kudos to Rihanna for actually embracing this year’s Met Gala theme without popping chopsticks in her hair or carrying a Chanel “take out” clutch… (you know, because there’s more to China than greasy noodles).
The Spring 2015 exhibit, “China: Through The Looking Glass” is dedicated to Chinese fashion and showcases art, rare artefacts as well as an array of designer dresses inspired by the Far East.
One of the designers featured in the exhibition is responsible for Rihanna’s slay-age on the red carpet last night and is a name we all now must remember; Guo Pei. Hailed as the McQueen of China, Pei is one of the biggest names in the Chinese fashion scene and Rihanna is just one of many A-Listers the designer has dressed.
After working for 10 years as a designer for several different brands, Guo Pei wanted nothing more than to create beautiful gowns and redefine couture in China. After commissioning pieces for television stars and singers she finally branched out and opened her own atelier in 1997 called “Rose Studio”. Back then, haute couture was pretty much non-existent and Guo Pei had no access to other couture creations outside of China, meaning all of her designs and visions are completely original. It is because of the highly artistic elements within Guo Pei’s work why she is often in the same vein as Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Each design that comes out of Rose Studio is wonderfully unique and exquisite.
When asked about the story behind the name, “Rose Studio”, the designer’s response was just as beautiful as her creations: “People love the rose, because of its superciliousness and full-bodied fragrance. But, even when it becomes withered, its beauty still never fades away. This is why I love it. A dead rose gave me a comprehension of departed resplendence; a studio full of affective tone brings me more dreams. So, Rose Studio, blossoming at the forefront of fashion like a rose, is a cradle where I can weave my dream”, which we think perfectly sums up the nature of Pei’s work.
Guo Pei’s designs are made to measure for one client at a time and hand created from scratch. Each piece is elaborately designed and developed as teams of seamstresses work tirelessly to replicate Pei’s exact vision into a reality and are anything short of opulent due to her fascination with fairy tales and traditional folk stories. Pei tries to introduce China to the modern western world in any way possible. In a 2013 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Pei expressed her efforts once again saying “I want people around the world to understand China through these gowns. If I can contribute to this country, to our people, to make all the people of Chinese background proud—because if they don’t love their culture then there is no future for them”
When asked if she has plans on expanding her business to the US, Guo Pei says that it’s a large market and space for haute couture to develop and is also a platform to display her ability. According to Pei, once Rose Studios has met certain conditions then she will consider a plan to enter the American market. However, this plan might be changing soon due to the success of last night. Perhaps her upcoming collection with MAC Cosmetics will help to test the waters?
As Guo Pei’s name goes down in history as China’s first haute couture designer, I can’t wait to see what’s to come as she ventures to the western markets. Whilst she’s dressed countless A-Listers before ranging from Fan BingBing to Zhang Ziyi, I can already imagine the collaborations between Pei and the likes of Lady Gaga and FKA Twigs. We're so excited to see what's next for the designer.
Words by Taylor-Dior Rumble (@XO_TDR)