Fashionable heritage: Guo Pei at ACM Singapore

Sunday, 25 August 2019


So when I heard that Guo Pei's dresses were going to be exhibited in Singapore, I was so excited that I knew despite my crazy recent schedule, I had to carve out time to view her designs. So I called a friend and together, we head over to the Asian Civilisation Museum (ACM), a quick 5 minute walk from Raffles Place MRT station (exit H) on a sunny Saturday afternoon.


Guo Pei is great - but first - lunch.

Also notable that I had my first taste of the impossible meat (in spaghetti) at the Prive Cafe in ACM and I thought it was quite impressive that it really could pretty much as off as real meat.




And now for the main character of the day: Guo Pei's Chinese Art & Couture exhibition.


This exhibition explores 29 of her creations from the angle of Chinese historical and contemporary design. A little bit about Guo Pei - she's a high fashion designer and dressmaker, whose designs reflect her Beijing childhood, overseas experieces and ideas about art. Her team has over 500 artisans, who spends thousands (yes, thousands!) of house on the intricate handwork required for each new creation.

One of her most famous and well-photographed dresses was the Yellow Queen (黄皇后), which was donned by Rihanna on the red carpet for the 2015 MET Gala in New York. This 25kg dress, which consists of luxurious materials such as silk, metal thread, gold-spun thread and fur, took a whopping 6000 hours to create!

The Yellow Queen dress would greet visitors just before they proceed into the doors that lead them toward the hallway into Guo Pei's world.



Check out those incredible shoes! Every minute detail had the utmost attention and care of its maker.


I'm not going to show every dress in this post, but I will feature some dresses that really excited me through the showcase.


This dress, is called the Magnificent Gold Gown (大金). Silk, wire, gold thread, silver-spun thread, Swarovski-sequin accessories - 50,000 hours of work. The lotus decoration corresponds to the theme of her first couture collection - Samsara. The dress looks so heavy, it almost seems like the mannequin is at risk of some serious nip-slip. But I digress. Back to the gowns.




If you're following me on my instagram (click here to follow), you would have seen my IG stories where I would have shown you a video of it. But to be fair - photos and videos don't do these dresses any actual justice. So there. Presenting the Snow Queen (冰雪皇后). Silk, mesh, gold-spun thread, silver thread, crystals, gems, beads, sequins, pearls, fox fur, brass, Swarovski crystals, diamantes - a 6,000 hour piece of gorgeous we're seeing here.

By far her heaviest gown - 50kg! Being the queen, you know, many responsibilities to carry, so there - the weight of the world on your - i mean - a true blue regal woman's shoulders.



The Palace Flower (宫花). Made with silk, jacquard, silver-spun thread, gold-spun thread, bead, Swarovski crystals, fur, silk peonies - taking 10,000 hours to complete. Also the time spent to earn the key to success in any field; popularly known from Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers.

Just check out how lovely this romantic blue mermaid gown looks. So flowy, phoenix-y and wavy. Just, stunning.



Part of her 'Legend of the Dragon Collection', this dress is being held together with metal wire, metal thread, sequinned silk fabric, Swarovski rhinestones and crystals. What's notable here is the dragon representation on her sleeve as well as her train, which was created from thick layers of metal wire and metal thread embroidery over stiffened stuffing.



I'm not showing the full dress here, but I want to say how much I think I loved that she included the Chinese 'double happiness' and 'good fortune' characters with such class and beauty into her design. But if you wanted to know, this dress - which took 3000 hours to make - is an informal and fun mini dress. This dress is absolutely gorgeous and is one of my favourites. And let's not forget the elaborately made shoes too which is specifically made to form a set.

 

She even made a jumpsuit! With wings! Whaaaat~!


As part of her admiration of Peranakan beadwork, she also did up this beautiful Peranakan inspired dress, so colourful and vibrant. So lovely. 



 
Finally, I've been saving this one for the last to present to you guys.

The Blue-and-White porcelain dress inspired literally by the Chinese blue-and-white porcelain in both design and technique. The blue decoration, including lotus blooms, crests, cloud and thunder patterns, waves, lingzhi fungus and flowers, was first hand-drawn and hand-painted. Then embroidery magic took place with 10,780 crystals added on as embellishments.

Worthy of the 8000 hours it took to complete (and then awed), this dress is made with silk, Swarovski crystals and pigments. Also, the headdress is beau-wait for it-tiful.

BEAUTIFUL!



After touring Guo pei, be sure to also check out the interactive workshop that is stationed near the Yellow Dress (Rihanna dress, whatever you wanna call it). haha!






Ticket prices for Guo Pei goes at:
Singaporeans & Permanent Residents $12 Foreign
Residents & Tourists $20

Her exhibition runs from 16 June 2019 to 16 September 2019.

If you haven't checked it out already, go. You won't regret it.

Website: https://www.acm.org.sg/whats-on/exhibitions/guo-pei

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