Guo Pei is a not simply a famous designer; she is a legend— the Lady of Chinese Couture.
Pei was the first Asian designer in 147 years to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris as a special guest member. In the Chinese fashion industry, she is the fire around which everyone moves. Pei’s devotion to China’s long-standing millenary traditions is a great inspiration to young designers.
Born in Beijing, Pei started working in fashion at a very young age, helping her mother. She was in the first group of fashion design majors accepted to the Beijing Second Light Industry School. She graduated in 1986 and launched her first collection in 1997. She quickly became a star of the Chinese fashion industry.
Guo Pei’s rich works have a deep connection to Chinese culture. The intricate embroideries and jewels are a testament to both her heritage and her team’s craftsmanship. Each unique handmade art piece takes more than 5,000 hours to create.
The Guo Pei atelier produces 3,000 to 5,000 suits per year, each priced between 50,000 and 300,000 USD.
Each suit has a soul that connects with the customer. Before beginning to draw her designs, Pei meets with clients to get to know their character, temper and personality. Each piece must feel like a second skin.
Angelica Cheung, editor-in-chief of Vogue China says, “Guo’s designs are helping Chinese craftsmanship reach new levels of appreciation, both at home and abroad. She’s not the only Chinese designer using these traditional methods, but she is the most outstanding, both in terms of her creative visions and how she’s made them influential. Her work captures the essence of true couture; it’s all handmade, it’s beautiful, and it’s collectible”.
Pei has been invited to show her suits at MOMA in New York. Her most famous suit took 50,ooo hours of work to create and is inspired by uniforms from the Napoleonic period.
In 2014 Pei launched her bridal suit collection. She uses traditional methods and incorporates Chinese symbols of love and happiness, such as phoenixes and birds. Pei’s intent is for “young Chinese women to have a dress that is special enough to pass on to their daughters. Clothes like this help to preserve memories and emotion”.
This collection is more accessible to a large market with prices ranging from 7,000 to 15,000 USD. Pei is working on creating a bridge between her unique artistry and a class of young consumers.
“I am a product of changing China”, Pei says. “I never look down on my past, and I am always hopeful about the future. I’m excited about what will happen next.”