8 July 2016

A groundbreaking second collection of Guo Pei Couture has just illuminated the city of light.

After a long journey to penetrate the calendar of Paris Couture Week for the first time last January, Guo Pei is now back with a more elaborate, more charming collection with a greater wow effect. The show was held in Bourse de commerce, an Impressionist-styled building that serves as the bureau of commodity exchanges in Paris, clearly with a high historical value.

Inspired from the culture and a long history of rich Chinese civilization, Guo Pei became a fashion antithesis of the 21st century, where modernity and mobility became the basis and seems contagious among new fashion players. Nothing is simple in the world of Guo Pei, even for a Little Black Dress. During my visit to showrrom in the next day, the husband Jack explained that many of the materials used in this collection were produced up to two years before the show, which involved, among others, infamous textile manufacturer Jakob Schlaepfer.

This collection is a kaleidoscope filled with colorful fabrics and garments with an imaginative design that many of them are museum worthy.

Titled 'Encounter', Guo Pei presented a marriage between the western and eastern, without looking bland nor boring. Pieces of the European feminism peppered with many Chinese decorations that were condensed,  like a Court Dress of the 18th century. Opened with a white dress with  details of scalp-formed mother-of-pearl and dragon-pattered emboridery (one of the Twelve Symbols belonging to the Emperor Yongzheng) and a sleeveless dress, Guo Pei enhanced the aesthetic of art deco in the 20s like the Princess of Great Gatsby with a touch of orientalism. Tufted red dress of cellophane was decorated with precious stones and luxurious fur. Last Exit, a pointed-shoulder gown resembling the one which once belonged to Empress Xiaoxian, was a grande of a finale.

Guo Pei had to train artisans to produce her design, keeping alive the ancient technique and craftsmanship as well as embroidery pattern which had become a lost art during the Cultural Revolution. She hoped she could make Chinese people proud of their heritage and to inspire a greater appreciation for traditional crafts so that they will be preserved. With so many atendees dressed in her clothes, including a young girl wearing a white dress with a blue patterned embroidery like a fragile Chinese porcelain, Guo Pei became the ultimate couture guardian from the far east. And with the opening of her first atelier in Paris, she is ready to establish herself as the one to pay attention to, making pavement to become one of grand couturiers of the future.

UPDATE: To read my piece on my visit to her atelier, go to CNN Indonesia.