Guo Pei & the Accidental Art of Courting Attention

“Celebrities are the fashion trend-setters of today,” said Guo Pei, the Chinese couturier who ought to know. Rihanna wore what become an internet meme of a dress, the Yellow Queen gown, to the Met Ball in 2015 and suddenly Pei was thrust on to the world’s stage.

“Many young people look up to celebrities as their role models. I feel their strong social influence also comes with great responsibility, and it is a huge responsibility to shoulder. The image they project can have a positive effect on cultural development and influence social welfare,” warned Pei.

The designer was in London this month to celebrate the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Fashion in Motion series (a platform for both established and up-and-coming designers to show their collections to the public), which turns 20 this year.

The designer showcased her highly imaginative and fantastical creations – which are known to take some time to make a turn on the catwalk, such is their extravagance and architectural splendour.

“My work usually involves two aspects. One aspect is designing my couture collections which does not involve too many practical considerations on my part,” she acknowledged. “I am free to design and express my creativity as I wish. The other aspect is designing for my clients. The right design can accentuate their most beautiful side,” she explained.

When it came to the Rihanna dress, she said she didn’t set out to court the publicity that subsequently came with it. “I did not know of her nor her influence. But the exposure from the media brought my work a wider audience, understanding, and recognition.”

Something she said seems to chime more in the West than it does in her native China. “In the West, my audience comes from all nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Their understanding of my culture may not be as direct as the Chinese audience. My designs translate into a language that I use to communicate with them.”

China is obviously still very important to her. It is where she began her career and honed her skills. “I hope that people will not only pay attention to us, but also promote the development of couture alongside us.”

Which she does through her twice-yearly couture shows in Paris; for her, they are of the utmost importance. “It may not have brought me awards or approval of others in the past,” she said. But: “It is vital for a designer’s work to speak for itself. This is what I tend to focus on.” And Paris is the place for that.

While the Rihanna moment was undoubtedly beneficial, Pei is level-headed about it and is less inclined to consider herself a celebrity designer. “I think celebrity designers are defined by others. I care more about the value of my work which should withstand the test of time.”

Yet, she still considers herself very much a newcomer. “I have been a designer for 30 years, and established my brand for more than 20 years,” she told us. But she thinks that’s nothing “compared to the masters of couture like Pierre Cardin or Valentino.”

Showcasing at the Victoria & Albert Museum was something of a full-circle for Pei who used to visit exhibitions there as a child whenever she travelled to London. “I saw many that inspired and moved me. These memories have all shaped my design inspirations. Coming back this time as a designer and bringing my work to London is a wonderful feeling!”

SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
On A Quest for Young Italian Talents
By Elisa Carassai
Fashion has been used, since forever, as a means of escapism, a way of transporting insiders and...
By Elisa Carassai
Fashion has been used, since forever, as a means of escapism, a way of transporting insiders and non to faraway lands full of beauty and creativity. From the creations of John Galliano at Dior to Alexander McQueen’s own eclectic work of arts, fashion visionaries used to bridge the gap between...
Fashion has been used, since forever, as a means of escapism, a way of transporting insiders and non to faraway lands full of beauty and creativity. From the creations of John Galliano at Dior to Alexander McQueen’s own eclectic work of arts, fashion visionaries used to bridge the gap between fashion and the arts.As the world steered in a different direction, so did the market – and the...
Celebrating Belgian Fashion
By Elisabeta Tudor
For its 4th edition, the Belgian Fashion Awards celebrated the movers and shakers of Belgian...
By Elisabeta Tudor
By Elisabeta Tudor
For its 4th edition, the Belgian Fashion Awards celebrated the movers and shakers of Belgian fashion in Antwerp during a one-day Fashion Talks event, which culminated in an awards ceremony.Organized by the Flanders District of Creativity (Flanders DC), the event is part of the non-profit...
For its 4th edition, the Belgian Fashion Awards celebrated the movers and shakers of Belgian fashion in Antwerp during a one-day Fashion Talks event, which culminated in an awards ceremony.Organized by the Flanders District of Creativity (Flanders DC), the event is part of the non-profit organization's aim to serve as a springboard for entrepreneurs in the creative industries in Flanders. In...
Quoi Alexander: A Designer on a UN Mission
By Jessica Bumpus
Fashion and AI may be having a moment, but for designer Quoi Alexander returning to the original...
By Jessica Bumpus
Fashion and AI may be having a moment, but for designer Quoi Alexander returning to the original textile technology, sewing, is what he’s most fascinated by right now. “It’s something I’ve embraced. This Spring/Summer 2020 season is the first collection with it in!” said the now Paris-based...
Fashion and AI may be having a moment, but for designer Quoi Alexander returning to the original textile technology, sewing, is what he’s most fascinated by right now. “It’s something I’ve embraced. This Spring/Summer 2020 season is the first collection with it in!” said the now Paris-based Central Saint Martins alum, who, ever since the launch of his own label, has been reinventing the wheel...
Italy’s Fashion Chamber Cracks Down on “Gifts”
By Elisa Carassai
MILAN-- The ubiquity of influencers who have garnered fame on borrowed wardrobes is, these days,...
By Elisa Carassai
MILAN-- The ubiquity of influencers who have garnered fame on borrowed wardrobes is, these days, a reality, while self-made icons – like Lee Radziwill or Jane Birkin – are sadly a thing of the past.As the fashion sector struggles to define what an influencer actually is, organisations like the...
MILAN-- The ubiquity of influencers who have garnered fame on borrowed wardrobes is, these days, a reality, while self-made icons – like Lee Radziwill or Jane Birkin – are sadly a thing of the past.As the fashion sector struggles to define what an influencer actually is, organisations like the Federal Trade Commission in the United States are cracking down on false influencer advertising. In...
3D Fur is as Good as it Gets
By Sofia Celeste
Researchers at MIT have created 3D-printed fur that is perfect for wintery couture runway looks,...
By Sofia Celeste
By Sofia Celeste
Researchers at MIT have created 3D-printed fur that is perfect for wintery couture runway looks, elaborate paint brushes, or even jewellery, the university’s Media Lab said last week on its blog.The invention is a timely one, as California became the first US state last month to place a ban on...
Researchers at MIT have created 3D-printed fur that is perfect for wintery couture runway looks, elaborate paint brushes, or even jewellery, the university’s Media Lab said last week on its blog.The invention is a timely one, as California became the first US state last month to place a ban on selling, donating, or manufacturing new fur products in the state.Over the last few years, vanguard...
This Way Forward
By Elisabeta Tudor
Caterina Occhio is a woman of many talents. A former development aid expert for the European...
By Elisabeta Tudor
By Elisabeta Tudor
Caterina Occhio is a woman of many talents. A former development aid expert for the European Commission and the United Nations, Caterina is now a full-fledged social entrepreneur who made her mark in the fashion industry by creating and contributing to women empowering and sustainable projects....
Caterina Occhio is a woman of many talents. A former development aid expert for the European Commission and the United Nations, Caterina is now a full-fledged social entrepreneur who made her mark in the fashion industry by creating and contributing to women empowering and sustainable projects. She now has been appointed social sustainability advisor at Trussardi and just launched a brand-new...
OTB and Koché Ink Partnership
By NOWFASHION
MILAN—In an attempt to expand its portfolio of emerging talent and established brands, Renzo...
By NOWFASHION
MILAN—In an attempt to expand its portfolio of emerging talent and established brands, Renzo Rosso’s OTB has reached a license agreement between its production unit Staff International and French designer brand KOCHÉ, both companies announced on Instagram Tuesday.Designed by Christelle Kocher,...
MILAN—In an attempt to expand its portfolio of emerging talent and established brands, Renzo Rosso’s OTB has reached a license agreement between its production unit Staff International and French designer brand KOCHÉ, both companies announced on Instagram Tuesday.Designed by Christelle Kocher, Koché is the 2019 ANDAM Grand Prize winner and is known for its colorful, artsy renegade style. Koché...
In Fashion’s Shoes
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is hosting a brilliant exhibition on shoes from all around...
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is hosting a brilliant exhibition on shoes from all around the world, from the Middle Ages until today.Footprint stickers gradually converging in the same direction – at the entrance to the MAD (Musée des Arts Décoratifs) in Paris, these stickers are perfect...
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is hosting a brilliant exhibition on shoes from all around the world, from the Middle Ages until today.Footprint stickers gradually converging in the same direction – at the entrance to the MAD (Musée des Arts Décoratifs) in Paris, these stickers are perfect to guide the visitor to the museum’s latest exhibition, dedicated to footwear from all over the...