“Clothes occurs to be structure of the physique,” Guo Pei’s quote reads on a wall of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, the place 80 of her attire are on show till November. The “Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy” exhibition unfolds like poetry; only a fast walkthrough will grip viewers together with her stage of artistry. To explain Pei merely as a fashion designer falls wanting capturing the grandeur and technical prowess of her work. Borrowing freely from a multiplicity of sources — be it China’s imperial previous or the pure world or European structure — Pei creates exquisitely crafted clothes that intersect with fashion, efficiency artwork, and sculpture. And a few of her items — just like the Da Jin costume on view on the exhibit — take tens of hundreds of hours to execute.

“Clothes occurs to be structure of the physique.”

“I am very fortunate that I am destined to make clothes,” she tells POPSUGAR. Pei’s journey to turning into the second Chinese language designer invited as a visitor member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (the French authority for couture) has been outstanding. Born in Beijing, she developed an early ardour for embroidered clothes by way of her maternal grandmother, who advised tales about her upbringing throughout China’s remaining imperial period. She spoke of richly embroidered Chinese language court docket attire, which contrasted with what Pei was seeing again then, as embroidered clothes was forbidden through the Cultural Revolution. “On the time, there was no shade in clothes, the whole lot was plain,” Pei says. Her fascination with stunning garments deepened when she started stitching together with her mom, whose glaucoma made it unimaginable for her to proceed making garments for the household.

Pei later enrolled in China’s first-ever fashion program and spent a decade working at name-brand firms. Nonetheless, she longed to create embroidered clothes, so she finally got down to revive the artwork on her personal. Because it was now not taught to women by the Nineteen Thirties, she traveled to totally different villages to supply artisans, finally launching her personal apply, Rose Studio, in 1997. As we speak, it employs 450 craftspeople, 300 of whom are embroiderers.

Many know her because the creator of Rihanna’s gold embroidered robe on the 2015 Met Gala, however Pei was an acclaimed designer lengthy earlier than that second. The couture designer has efficiently parlayed a love of fantasy, structure, and spirituality into an illustrious profession, marked by her technical innovation and world perspective.

“Inspiration, I imagine, is an accumulation of affection in the direction of life.”

Pei’s effectively of inspiration nonetheless hasn’t run out. The legendary designer speaks to POPSUGAR about her childhood, the evolution of fashion in China, and her hopes for the way forward for the business. Learn forward for the complete interview, frivolously edited for readability.

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