China’s grand dame of Haute Couture, designer Guo Pei unveils must-see exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
Some fashion moments are burned into our minds forever. Princess Diana’s revenge dress; JLo’s green Versace number; Ginger Spice’s Union Jack mini. And, of course, the regal yellow Guo Pei gown worn by Rihanna to the 2015 Met Gala, in celebration of the Met Costume Institute’s 2015 exhibit, China: Through the Looking Glass.
As with the earlier examples, serious followers of fashion and/or red carpet aficionados probably remember where they were when they first laid eyes on this look (chances are, it was through the screen of your iPhone 6 on your lunch break). If you’re vague about the specifics, rest assured that you’ll remember when you first laid eyes on it in person, thanks to a sensational new exhibit at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
Open now until May 2024, Guo Pei: Fashion, Art, Fantasy 郭培 : 时装之幻梦 is a once-in-a-lifetime look at the extraordinary archive of one the world’s greatest living couturiers. In Auckland last week for the unveiling of the exhibit, which features more than 60 garments including several never before displayed in a museum, the Beijing-based designer led viewers on a journey through one dreamscape after another.
And while the Yellow Empress cape made famous by Rihanna will be the garment that gets punters through the door, every single piece is deserving of icon status.
Heavily inspired by nature, mythology, and European and Asian clothing traditions, and informed by Guo Pei’s impeccable craft which, in 2016, saw her become the first designer of Asian descent to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, Guo Pei: Fashion, Art, Fantasy presents a vibrant snapshot of the designer’s most innovative and visually intoxicating ensembles created from 2005 to 2020.
Or make that hundreds of snapshots. If we have one recommendation before rolling up to this exhibit, it’s clear some space in your camera roll. You may not need to refer to those photos in order to pick out your own Met Gala gown, but they will come in handy the next time you are craving inspiration, whatever your creative pursuit.
Guo Pei: Fashion, Art, Fantasy 郭培 : 时装之幻梦 is on now until Sunday May 5 at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. Tickets start at $20.50 (free for AAG members and children under 12).