Spring 2017 Haute Couture: Guo Pei's "Legend" Collection
At first glance, Guo Pei’s couture creations can be perplexing. Her gowns certainly create a sense of awe, but they are often rather impractical, perhaps more suited to the set of a fantastically glamorous movie.
But for the Chinese designer, haute couture is really an opportunity to let her imagination run wild and showcase the breadth of craftsmanship of her large atelier. Thus the creations are actually never sold but kept for her private collection. As the sought-after Beijing-based couturier once told CoutureNotebook, “I don’t want them to be commercial at all.”
For this year’s presentation as invited member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, Guo Pei choose the historic setting of La Conciergerie. This was a fitting backdrop for a collection, titled “Legend” and inspired by the magnificent murals of the Saint Gallen Cathedral in Switzerland.
Guo Pei spent a year working with haute couture textile manufacturer Jakob Schlaepfer to design the bespoke fabric for her collection, paying tribute to the Swiss cathedral’s Rococo paintings and integrating the designer’s reflections on the spirit of devotion and her appreciation for craftsmanship.
"Legends have always been one of my greatest sources of inspiration, unlocking my infinite imagination. The origins of mankind, creation myths and the mysteries of eternal life fascinate me. A part of my soul will always hold on to the most beautiful fantasies inspired by legends,” she says.
The Spring 2017 Haute couture collection comprises 20 creations, featuring a color palette of emerald green and antique gold, embellished with exquisite three-dimensional embroidery and handcrafted copper accessories.
Her couture presentations are always grand extravaganzas and this year was no exception, with models teetering on custom-made platform shoes, walking extremely slowly so the audience can fully appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into her elaborate embroideries.
The show opened with “the Revenant,” a luminous dress made from a phosphorescent fabric that made the model appeared ghostly, while the show’s grand finale was a long scarlet robe made from a specially-treated thin and airy pure silk fabric, which has metal fibers as thin as human hair woven into it