ADDRESSING THE WEST
The works of Chinese couturier Guo Pei come to Vancouver.
“They’re prejudiced against us because we’re from the East, even though China is rich in culture,” says Chinese designer Guo Pei about the French fashion industry. The quote comes from the documentary Yellow Is Forbidden by Pietra Brettkelly. The doc follows Guo as her recognition in the West grows after Rihanna wore Guo’s canary-coloured silk cape trimmed with fox fur to the 2015 Met Gala. The look set off a flurry of omelette, pizza and Big Bird memes. In the wake of the film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year and screened again at the Vancouver International Film Festival in September, the Vancouver Art Gallery is staging an exhibition of Guo’s ornate creations until January 20, 2019. More than 40 pieces spanning 10 years of the designer’s over-twodecade career are featured in Guo Pei: Couture Beyond, the most recent being those she showed in Paris for Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. Guo is the first Chinese designer to be invited into the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. The infamous yellow cape—all 25 kilograms and five-metre train of it—will also be on display, and the hue, as the film title suggests, carries deep cultural significance. In imperial China, which is a major source of inspiration for Guo, yellow was only worn by the emperor. In debuting the exhibit in Canada as its first-ever contemporaryfashion-centred survey, the gallery seems to be making its own strong statement.