De­signer Guo Pei named Blue Cloud hon­oree

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By CHINA DAILY in New York

The name Guo Pei at­tracted lit­tle press among the Western fash­ion crowd, un­til pop star Ri­hanna wore her “poached egg” gown to the Met Ball in New York last year.

Now, 30 years af­ter en­ter­ing the fash­ion in­dus­try as China’s home­grown high-end de­signer, Guo has been pro­pelled into global fash­ion fame.

On Tues­day, New York-based China In­sti­tute hosted the Blue Cloud Gala in cel­e­bra­tion of its 90th an­niver­sary. Guo was one hon­orees.

The mo­ment she walked into the hall, you saw her cre­ativ­ity — a sim­ple black dress with hand­crafted golden dragon em­broi­dery over the shoul­ders. Sim­i­lar de­signs by Guo were fea­tured at Jan­uary’s Paris Cou­ture Week, where she pre­sented her col­lec­tion to the world as the first Chi­nese guest mem­ber of the Cham­bre de Syn­di­cale de la Haute Cou­ture.

Guo started her speech at China In­sti­tute with a smile.

“English, lit­tle lit­tle,” she of the said, and switched to Chi­nese. Man­darin is still her only spo­ken lan­guage. Her art speaks it too.

Guo’s sump­tu­ous fash­ion ex­pres­sion is rooted in Chi­nese cul­ture. She recre­ates im­ages from tra­di­tional im­pe­rial court de­sign and ren­ders its hall­marks with ex­otic Western sil­hou­ettes. She be­lieves it is her re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­vey a “China value” through her work.

“I am a prod­uct of a chang­ing China,” said Guo. “I ap­pre­ci­ate our cul­ture and want the whole world to see it.”

Guo’s loy­alty to her coun­try, both as a cit­i­zen and an artist, is eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able. She has of­ten been cho­sen to dress stars at state-sponsored events, like the Bei­jing Olympics and the New Year’s Gala.

Yet look­ing back at her ca­reer, Guo said that the most ex­cit­ing mo­ment was when two of her dresses went on dis­play at the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art dur­ing the 2015 spring Cos­tume In­sti­tute show, China: Through the Look­ing Glass.

“I couldn’t sleep for days,” she said. “They are re­flec­tions of the pride I have for Chi­nese cul­ture. The honor be­longs to China.”

Guo is al­ways con­fi­dent that real aes­thetic res­onates. Though fash­ion in China is still nascent in her eye, Guo sees a bright future in the next gen­er­a­tion of de­sign­ers from China.

“Fash­ion de­sign is not a job, or a ca­reer,” she said. “It’s the choice of a life­time. So my ad­vice to young Chi­nese de­sign­ers is to slow down. Don’t panic. Don’t be afraid to wait for the right mo­ment to come.” Xiao­tian Zhang in New York con­trib­uted to this story.

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