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What You Don’t Know About The Chinese Haute Couturier, Guo Pei

What do Rihanna and Angelababy have in common? Nothing, it seems, right?

Wrong. Besides the fact that they are both hugely popular stars in their own right, they’ve also both worn a Guo Pei design for a major event. For Rihanna, she wore the now-iconic Yellow Queen dress, which netizens playfully dubbed as the “omelette dress”, to the 2015 Met Gala. Angelababy, on the other hand, had a more personal encounter with Guo’s work — she wore a Peranakan-inspired bridal gown to her wedding with Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming in 2015.

In fact, (surprise!) we have a personal connection to Guo and Angelababy too. Jackie Yoong, curator of the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) and Peranakan Museum, shared with us that it was the media fanfare surrounding Angelababy’s gown at the time that drew their interest to the piece. After observing her dress, they felt that it reminded them of a dress they had in the Peranakan Museum. So they reached out to Guo Pei to ask if her work had anything to do with their dress, and she confirmed that she was actually inspired by the said piece when she saw it during a travelling exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, France.

And so, eventually, this sparked a discussion to have an exhibition in Singapore, which culminated in Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture exhibition. The exhibition will see 29 dresses from her oeuvre displayed in all its splendour across two galleries. You’d be exposed to various aspects of Chinese art, such as materials like silk and porcelain, the craft of embroidery, and motifs like peonies and phoenixes, and because Guo’s work is well-known for its dramatic and outrageous flair, it’ll be a memorable experience.

But how did Guo Pei, a woman who grew up during the austere times of the Cultural Revolution, become the most celebrated Chinese couturier of our time? Find the answer at the Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture exhibition at the ACM from June 15 to Sept 15, 2019. But before you head there, watch the video above to get a glimpse into the intricate pieces and the artistry behind the genius that is Guo Pei.

Tickets for Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture costs upwards of $12 via ACM

ByHo Guo Xiong, June 2019

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The Finder Issue 298

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