Fête Chinoise Exclusive Interview with Guo Pei

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Fête Chinoise interviews Guo Pei at the Vancouver Art Gallery

It was the honour of Fête Chinoise to sit down with haute couturiere Guo Pei (right) for an exclusive interview in October 2018 inside the beautiful Vancouver Art Gallery. The designer dressed in one of her ready-to-wear pieces with her chic bob hairstyle, described her own art world – not fashion but something more timeless – in her native language of Mandarin. With an upbeat sparkle in her eye, her enthusiastic spirit came through her speech and excitement for the exhibition; her hair and hands moving lyrically with her motions as she spoke passionately about her creations.

Photography by Butter Studios

 Guo Pei, haute couture designer, stands next to her work at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Photography by Butter Studios.

Guo Pei, haute couture designer, stands next to her work at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Photography by Butter Studios.

ON RESPECT

Respect means a lot to Guo, she shares. Earlier in the same week that her exhibition was unveiled, she attended the premiere for Yellow is Forbidden, a documentary about her life, for the first time on the silver screen with an audience in Vancouver this month at the Vancouver International Film Festival. She felt respected for her soul, for her studio, and for her nation. Respect, she explains, is related to the soul. She couldn’t help but become emotional when she felt that recognition of her work and the Chinese culture she identifies with. She was also touched by moments that included her father, who recently passed away. 

CHINESE ROOTS

In her documentary, Guo shares her story and life in China. Looking back, Guo tells Fête Chinoise that she deeply respects the foundation provided by the upbringing in China. The roots of Chinese history are inspiration for her work. When one looks at her work, the power comes from culture. She states: “Without culture, one cannot touch the world.” Most will remember her richly embroidered golden and yellow robe, adorned by superstar Rihanna at the MET Gala in 2015. Guo Pei has continued to mesmerize audiences in her native China and beyond.

In the past, she has adored the colour green sit represented nature and resilience in her mind. Gold, as seen in many of her works, has a special place in her heart. It does not simply represent riches and opulence, but also objects of the past and royalty. Guo Pei confesses that recently red has become her favourite choice of colour as it embodies both passion and creativity. As time passes, Guo sees the strength in varying colours and mediums.

Her collections demonstrate the magic that can be created when intricate Chinese embroidery and techniques are mastered. Guo personally trains every seamstress in her Rose Studio and many dresses that sashay down the red carpet in Mainland China are Guo’s designs. She is very pleased with being able to bring her masterpieces to Canadian audiences at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

TO HER CANADIAN FANS:

To her Canadian friends, supporters, and followers, she wishes to say that she loves you and hopes you can embrace her work and the love behind every creation. Guo Pei hopes you will fall in love with the work because of the soul within the piece that can carry us and sustain us with its beauty and spirit. It is with great joy that she can present her art to Canadian audiences at the Vancouver Art Gallery this winter. Guo Pei: Couture Beyond will be available from October through January 20, 2019.

As to whether her work will come to Toronto, she says, if the stars align, she would love to have the opportunity. Toronto has a special place in her heart as she visited many years ago with family. She still recalls the beautiful winter scene.

Without culture, one cannot touch the world.
— Guo Pei