Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy
By Jill D’Alessandro, Anna Grasskamp, Sally Yu Leung, and Juanjuan Wu
Guo Pei is China’s premier couturier and one of the world’s most innovative fashion designers. She is recognized for her consummate craftsmanship, lavish embroidery, and imaginative dressmaking techniques as well as for her elaborate and theatrical runway presentations. Drawing inspiration from European and Asian artistic traditions, Guo Pei’s creations blur the boundaries between art and fashion, and for more than twenty-five years her complex and visually dazzling dresses and ensembles have astonished runway audiences from Beijing to Paris.
Published on the occasion of the 2022 exhibition Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, this catalogue presents an in-depth look at the creative world of the designer. Featuring more than two hundred fifty color illustrations highlighting eighty-two of the artist’s most sumptuous creations, this stunning volume also includes a gallery of backstage photographs and a collection of sketches that provide a rare glimpse into her design process. Essays by leading fashion scholars, an interview with the designer, and a detailed chronology further explore the trajectory of Guo Pei’s extraordinary career and provide a deeper understanding of her influences and her singular aesthetic philosophy, which has been shaped by her cultural heritage as well as China’s modern history.
Jill D’Alessandro is the curator in charge of costume and textile arts, The Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Department of Textile Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Her recent publications on fashion include Summer of Love: Art, Fashion, and Rock and Roll (2017) and Contemporary Muslim Fashions (2018).
Anna Grasskamp is a lecturer at the University of Saint Andrews, Scotland. She is the author of Objects in Frames: Displaying Foreign Collectibles in Early Modern China and Europe (2019) and Art and Ocean Objects of Early Modern Eurasia: Shells, Bodies, and Materiality (2021).
Sally Yu Leung is the founder of the James Cahill Asian Art Study Center at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and an instructor at Pixar University, Emeryville, California, and Denver Botanic Gardens. She has independently curated twenty-three exhibitions of Chinese decorative art and textiles, including With Best Wishes: Symbolism and Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art (Pacific Heritage Museum, San Francisco, 2003–2004).
Juanjuan Wu is a professor in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and the author of Chinese Fashion: From Mao to Now (2009). Her recent publications on Chinese fashion include a chapter in Fashion in Multiple Chinas (2018) and an essay on modern Chinese fashion designers for the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion: East Asia (2019).