Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei is relatively new to the elite fashion industry, with her true breakout moment being a bright yellow regal dress featured on Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala last May, which took Pei two years to construct by hand. This moment brought in a substantial amount of new attention for the designer, and Rihanna’s over-32-million followers on Instagram certainly didn’t hurt. The most notable outcome of overnight attention is an enthralling new slot in Paris Couture Week, where she showed the truly remarkable Guo Pei Couture spring/summer 2016 collection on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Pei’s background as a costume dresser was highlighted with a stunning outcome, so this designer’s fairy tale story of fame is continuing to impress.
The collection was a perfect combination between high society costumery and elegant eveningwear, so there will be a significant probability of seeing these looks on the likes of red carpet celebrities as the year progresses and orders for this couture line are fulfilled and shipped out. There are many looks in this collection that Rihanna could rock, if she wanted to play into Pei’s couture talents once again.
Guo Pei is most well-known around the world for creating high fashion looks for Chinese celebrities, but is now also attracting attention from American celebrities, like actress Uma Thurman, who could be seen watching the show from the front row. So Rihanna wasn’t able to make to the show, but perhaps Thurman might be the one to hit the scene with a Pei couture exclusive in the coming year; it might even beat out the extravagance of Rihanna’s Met look last year.
The Guo Pei Couture spring 2016 collection itself was successful from the ground up, as the conception of the stage really set the tone for the apparel to come. There was a gilded roof on the runway, which was there by the presence of gold-plated trees to maintain the regal image Pei is already known for. This setting honed on the essence of a royal Chinese courtyard, showing that the designer is all about extravagant, regal eveningwear and her Chinese heritage.
Construction is a key element to couture collections, and Pei made sure to maintain structure by adding stiffness to most of the looks. This made some garments appear boxy, but this never went out of control. Every decision seemed so deliberate in each garment, and we already know the extent of care Pei takes with her designs, as with Rihanna’s two-year-long wait time for her dress.
So she paid careful attention to keeping things not too stiff, not regal enough to seem untouchable, not too conservative, and skirted the line in this manner on many other elements as well. The designer knows just when to pull back to keep things pristine. Even her separates and miniskirts begged to be worn for a high society evening event, so in this breakout collection, Pei is showing that she knows how to keep everything ultimately classy with an air of extravagance.
The construction of each garment was in a realm of its own, from the thoughtful embellishments. which stole the show to the overall silhouettes. Those in attendance were constantly pressing forward to get the perfect close-up shot of the small detail work that really sets Pei apart from other designers.
And to finish everything off, the designer presented four jaw-dropping bridal looks. Just like everything else in the collection, the gowns were fit for only the most elegant, daring members of high society. This was only amplified when the final look walked the runway accessorized by a 500-carat necklace from luxury Swiss jewelry label Chopard.
Photos courtesy of WWD