Meet Guo Pei, China’s Queen of Couture, in a new documentary

Guo Pei is the chinese queen of couture. Sometimes compared to Chanel, the fashion designer blends traditional Chinese elements and French haute couture with effortless grace.

Get to know the trendsetter in a new short documentary entitled Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams. The film was released in May in collaboration with the global video channel Now Asia and the San Francisco Museums of Fine Arts.

Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams is not the first documentary to put the fashion designer in the spotlight. But during Pietra Brettkelly’s 2018 documentary Yellow is forbidden reported on Guo’s rise on the international stage, Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams is tied to Guo’s ongoing exhibition couture fantasy (until September 5) at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco.

“Her career is emblematic of a shift in global fashion narratives and China’s rise as a fashion leader,” commented Thomas Campbell, the museum’s CEO, in an interview with Fashion.

Guo, whose designs break the boundaries between reality and fantasy, fashion and art, and East and West, is one of the world’s most recognized Chinese designers.

Guo is not only the first Asian couturier to be inducted as a member of the highly exclusive brand Association of High Fashion in Paris, but her designs also have a place on the runways at Paris Fashion Week.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

In a scene from Embroidered Dreams, Guo fondly recalls her grandmother’s keen knowledge of traditional Chinese clothing. As someone who grew up during China cultural revolutionGuo never had the opportunity to see such embroidered splendor and has strived to reproduce it in her designs ever since.

Guo’s ambition led her to conduct extensive field research in northern China: “I went door to door asking women who know how to sew. I wanted to find and pass on these lost things [to future generations].”

The film also reveals how Guo’s younger self was very fond of the color yellow, but was warned by her grandmother that only emperors could wear it. For this reason, yellow represents the designer’s ideal and unattainable.

Colloquially called the “Yellow Empress Dress,” one of Guo’s most iconic creations is a cape dress weighing 48 pounds that Rihanna wore to the 2015 MET Gala.

Cover photo via YouTube

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