Guo Pei’s Contemporary Twist on Chinese Traditions

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For her first presentation as an invited guest of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, Guo Pei aimed to dazzle with the craftsmanship of her Beijing atelier. But while there were the usual rich embroideries on the long trains she has become famous for — think of the canary yellow cape Rihanna wore to the Met Gala last year — the designer was more restrained in her approach for this young, and wearable, contemporary take on Chinese traditions.

With a royal Chinese courtyard recreated as the backdrop to the runway, imperial China — a theme often embraced by the designer — remained present everywhere, from the use of a canary yellow (a color only worn by the emperor) to the embroideries of phoenix (a symbol used by the empress) and decorative silk tassels that decorated the shoulders and belts of boleros.

But the designer also managed to blend icons of her Chinese heritage like mandarin collars and long sleeves with a Western aesthetic of flirty mini-dresses, pencil trousers and even perky shorts. There were plenty of easily wearable outfits on which embroideries were used more sparsely, such as on a yellow tie and the side lapels of a matching trouser or the bib-top of a white gown that fastened at the back with white and blue embroidered straps.

The couturier sent a few show-stoppers down the catwalk, such as the opening gown, a gold confection of guipure lace that was so heavily embroidered with crystal it made a gentle click-clack sound on the runway as the model passed by, a regal coat embellished with fluffy feathers  and no fewer than four bridal looks, one matched with an extravagant 500-carat diamond necklace by Chopard.

As first published on BLOUINARTINFO.COM