Being in Paris for Haute Couture is the life goal of any fashion fan. I attended Chinese designer Guo Pei's stunning Haute Couture Fall 2016/2017 show at the Bourse de Commerce near The Louvre. Like NYFW, I embedded myself into the photographer's pit to shoot these works of art.
The inspiration for this season was the theme of "Encounter", dreams and karma. The central motif was her signature dragon. You could see this running through in the serpentine silhouettes. There were long, slinky embroidered gowns that were tailored tightly to the body and ended in an exaggerated train. The massive train is one detail that fashion fans Stateside recognize from this designer. Rihanna wore one of the biggest trains in red carpet history at the 2015 Met Gala in Guo Pei's yellow dress.
The other silhouettes were equally dramatic. From the sharply built up shoulders to the innovative pleating details that emulate the folds of a Chinese paper lantern. There were ballgowns to elaborate; it would make Cinderella drool with envy. If you were a Disney princess, the glittering headpieces would make you proud. These pieces were sculptures unto themselves. These looked like crystals and feathers that grew up and out organically to frame the face. The intricate embroidery deserves close-up examination. It is incredibly detailed. Each sequin and jewel were hand-sewn. The gold dress at the top along took over 20 000 hours of manual labor to complete by artisans. There were a few dark, almost Gothic dresses with a bit of 1930's film noir looks contrasted with the sparkling gold dresses and white gowns.
This was a historical show as Guo Pei is the first Chinese designer recognized by the Chambre Syndicale in Haute Couture. She was also named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people. Her gowns in the Met Gala exhibit, China Through the Looking Glass (one of the few by an actual Chinese designer) revolutionized how people viewed Chinese fashion as a whole, rather than a manufacturing hub.
all photos by Mariana Leung