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Exhibition marks first fashion-focused presentation in Vancouver Art Gallery's history
Installation view of Guo Pei: Couture Beyond, exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, October 13, 2018 to January 20, 2019. Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery.


VANCOUVER.- For the first time in its history, the Vancouver Art Gallery presents an exhibition dedicated to the art of fashion with the Canadian premiere of Guo Pei: Couture Beyond, October 13, 2018 to January 20, 2019. Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery in collaboration with Atlanta’s SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, this exhibition features more than forty breathtaking designs by China’s foremost couturière.

Rife with symbolism, Guo’s avant-garde silhouettes seamlessly fuse contemporary design with pre-republic opulence. The only Chinese national designer invited to join Paris’ prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, she is revered for combining China’s rich aesthetic tradition with modern sensibilities. This includes the imperial yellow cape—constructed from fifty-five pounds of embroidered silk and featuring a five-meter train—famously worn by recording artist Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala.

Tracing the evolution of Guo’s design sensibility over ten years, Guo Pei: Couture Beyond begins with significant examples from her early collections, Samsara (2006), An Amazing Journey in a Childhood Dream (2008) and 1002 Nights (2010), with a lively installation in the Gallery’s rotunda of the collection from Guo’s 2015 MAC Cosmetics collaboration. It continues with a number of works presented in Guo’s Legend of the Dragon (2012) collection, which animates the mythical dragon motif that figures prominently in the Chinese zodiac. Guo’s critically lauded Paris Collections conclude the exhibition: shimmering metallics from Encounter (fall 2016) and ornate garments inspired by Switzerland’s Cathedral of Saint Gallen in Legend (spring 2017).

“With works by one of the fashion world’s game-changing icons, Guo Pei: Couture Beyond marks the first time the Gallery is presenting an exhibition focused on the intersection of art and fashion as a dimension of visual culture,” says Kathleen S. Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Guo’s pursuit of excellence is unmistakable in every stitch of her creations. Each of her designs is a masterpiece and feat of craftsmanship that will undoubtedly captivate fashion-savvy visitors and artlovers alike in this Canadian premiere.”

Since she began designing, Guo Pei’s work has aimed to capture the splendour of China’s last imperial dynasty, the Qing Empire (1644—1912), as well as restore traditional craft practices that had been lost. Not long after graduating from Beijing School of Light Industrial Design, she launched her own label and atelier, Rose Studio in 1997, which today employs nearly 500 skilled artisans.

Guo’s accomplishments in fashion have earned her a spot on TIME Magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People as well as Business of Fashion's 500 list. Her critical success reveals the proliferation of influential fashion practices outside of the traditional Euro-American centres of Paris, London, Milan and New York.

Guo Pei: Couture Beyond is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery in collaboration with SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film and curated by Diana Freundl, Associate Curator, Asian Art and Stephanie Rebick, Associate Curator.





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