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April 20 2014

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3 posts tagged "Guo Pei"

In Singapore, Asia’s Couturiers Get A Boost

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Lie Sang Bong

There’s no questioning Asia’s importance in the fashion market, and Western brands have more than taken note. This month in Hong Kong alone, Tory Burch, Kenzo, Moncler, and Calvin Klein all hosted events within days of each other. And at Singapore’s FIDé fashion week (FIDé is an organization that aims to promote regional and international designers in Singapore), European brands like Pierre Balmain and American ones like Burkman Bros and Ari Dein similarly made the trek eastward to show their collections. “It was the first time both brands participated in a full-length fashion show,” Steven Kolb, the CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, said of the latter two. “Fashion is no longer defined by borders, and the more we can nurture global relations, the greater the success for our designers.”

But the region is also increasingly interested in holding its own in global fashion, and the eleven-day event in Singapore, which typically features several days of presentations by French haute couturiers and Asian couturiers, included the latest step in that direction: the founding of the Asian Couture Federation (ACF). Now, the Asian couturiers (dubbed by the ACF as “Asian Couturier Extraordinaires”) will have a support system of their own. Its inception was an act that won FIDé executive chairman and ACF founder Frank Cintamani (below, left) France’s esteemed Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres honor. Even Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, offered Cintamani a pat on the back, calling the Federation’s establishment “a significant event for all of Asia,” at a time “when we consider that fashion until recently was generally seen as the domain of Europe and the United States.” Continue Reading “In Singapore, Asia’s Couturiers Get A Boost” »

East Meets West at New York Fashion Week

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vivienne tam and liu wen“No sleep, no sleep tonight!” said Vivienne Tam on Friday evening, moments after arriving at the China Beauty Charity Fund’s inaugural gala. The designer, who had taken a break from her own show’s fitting in order to attend the event, scooped up an honorary award for her support of emerging Chinese design talent. Dubbed “China Fashion Night,” the affair drew guests including Liu Wen, Miroslava Duma, and Carmen Dell’Orefice to the St. Pierre Hotel for a dinner and auction that culminated in the presentation of Chinese haute couturiere Guo Pei’s fantastical clothes.

Over cocktails, Pei’s lavish wares certainly had partygoers talking. “I want to know exactly how heavy it is,” said Karolina Kurkova, admiring a bell-shaped ball gown made entirely from gold threading. So heavy were the dresses, and so ridiculously high were the platform shoes, that the models had to be hoisted onstage.

It seemed many of those in attendance came out of admiration for Yue-Sai Kan, the fashion doyenne who, as the charity’s founder, raises funds for Chinese graduates to study at FIT. It was Kan’s idea to bring Chinese haute couture to New York. “In China, Pei is a legend, but here you haven’t heard of her,” said Kan. She then added, “I think this is a good time for us to show her off.”

Photo: PMC.com

The Seven-Thousand-Hour Dress, And More From China’s Most Extravagant Couturier

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Guo Pei is China’s answer to haute couture. The last time she showed her collection, she sent Carmen Dell’Orefice out in an embroidered, fur-trimmed cape so heavy it took four men to help the legendary model make it down the runway. So expectations were high earlier this week when Guo, whose sculptural, over-the-top creations have drawn admirers including Lady Gaga, mounted her first fashion presentation in more than two years, in Beijing.

In the second of two showings in a soaring industrial space, visitors on Monday entered via a blacked-out exhibition displaying Guo’s 30 startlingly handcrafted takes on traditional Chinese wedding dresses: sunburst collars, acres of silk, and more hand embroidery than you could shake a needle at. According to the punctilious wall texts, one dress took 7,412 hours to make; another incorporated 465,756 pearls. And the show hadn’t even started yet.

Once it did, it was an immaculately constructed dark fairy tale of dragon manes, impossibly high wedges, vertiginous headpieces, and ballet dancers, all under the rubric “Legend of the Dragon,” and all slowly paced, shown one at a time. With arguably her country’s most high-wattage client list, Guo in many ways represents China’s new Gilded Age. But her true message was rather more understated: “My goal was to let more people see beautiful things, especially beautiful handicrafts,” she said. “We want to inspire a greater appreciation for traditional crafts, so that they can continue.”

Photo: AFP / Getty Images