The Universality of Guo Pei’s Designs

Guo Pei: Couture Beyond
Vancouver Art Gallery
October 13, 2018 – January 20, 2019

IMG_5764This season’s blockbuster, not-to-be-missed show at the Vancouver Art Gallery is Guo Pei: Couture Beyond. The Guo Pei exhibit features everything from Chinese wedding dresses, to religious iconography, to the dress worn by singer Rihanna at the Met Ball in 2015.

Guo Pei finds inspiration in her Chinese culture-especially the opulence of pre-republic China-as well as a number of other cultures from around the world. Pei seems particularly fascinated with religious iconography, drawing overtly from Christian symbolism as well as more subtly referencing religions originating in India in her runway collection, Samsara.

“Pei seems particularly fascinated with religious iconography, drawing overtly from Christian symbolism as well as more subtly referencing religions originating in India in her runway collection, Samsara”

IMG_5030

In the rotunda you will find whimsical, fairy-like designs that are reminiscent of both Japanese anime and Western stories like Alice in Wonderland. Pei beautifully blurs lines and shows us something that is immediately accessible to cultures around the world.

“You will find whimsical, fairy-like designs that are reminiscent of both Japanese anime and Western stories like Alice in Wonderland”

One of the first things you notice is her attention to detail. The intricate beadwork on a wedding dress, the skirts made out of layers and layers of feathers, or the carefully constructed accessories all show the precision and care she takes in the execution of a design.

Guo Pei: Couture Beyond, will awe you with every new design. Yes, it is fashion, but this is fashion that is about more than trends. This is fashion inspired by that place where past meets present and cultures collide.

“This is fashion inspired by that place where past meets present and cultures collide”

I loved turning each corner in the exhibit and discovering another influence in Pei’s designs. I could almost imagine I was walking through a museum in a world almost like ours, with cultures similar to ours, but ones that had evolved in a different way.  It feels ancient and at the same time modern, it feels culturally inspired and at the same time universal. I am particularly fond of the place where fashion meets art, but I am sometimes sceptical about the potential for fashion to speak to us with any real depth. However, I came out of this exhibit inspired, once again, by the potential fashion carries. Whether you’re going simply because you love fashion, or because you like to be challenged with new ways of seeing the world, this show will not disappoint.

“I could almost imagine I was walking through a museum in a world almost like ours, with cultures similar to ours, but ones that had evolved in a different way”

Facts about Guo Pei and this show were taken from the info panels in the exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s