Fashion designer Guo Pei introduces time-honored crafts into modern designs
By Shen Li
01:54

For over 20 years, Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei has been dressing celebrities, royalty and politicians from around the globe, who turn to her for show-stopping creations. Now, you can also enjoy some of her amazing collections. Forty of her most extraordinary designs are being featured in her "Couture Beyond" exhibition, at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Southern California.

Guo Pei is known for her fantastical, unrestrained creations that imbue contemporary high fashion with ancient tradition. Through intricate craftsmanship, opulent embroidery and sumptuous detail, she invokes history and mythology.

Featured prominently in the exhibition is the now-iconic imperial yellow silk gown worn by Rihanna to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala in 2015 – a ground-breaking creation that introduced Guo to America's fashion cognoscenti.

"The exhibition really resonates with western audiences. They don't expect haute couture from China. As for our historic, cultural legacy, people find that somewhat vague, and stereotyped. But we have introduced thousand-year-old crafts like embroidery into modern designs, and that's wowed them," said Guo.

A dress designed by Guo Pei on show at the exhibition. /VCG Photo

A dress designed by Guo Pei on show at the exhibition. /VCG Photo

For over 20 years, Guo Pei has been dressing celebrities, royalty and stateswomen.

Long heralded as a modern messenger of China's rich cultural heritage, Guo Pei made her Paris Fashion Week debut in January 2016, to wide critical acclaim.

She insists that every item in her collection is unique.

"I get asked a lot, 'Which is your favorite piece?' But it's really hard. It's like you have ten children, but you can't say which one is your favorite," said Guo, adding that: "Every piece is unique… It can't be replicated because the whole process is a series of design and redesign, constantly adjusting, until I feel satisfied with the final result. So, it's almost impossible to repeat the whole process and make another one."

Guo Pei's "Couture Beyond" exhibition runs until July 14 at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Southern California.