It might not have come from a Parisian atelier, but if that’s not couture, I don’t know what is. Guo Pei is President and Chief Designer of Rose Studio Fashion Co. Ltd. She is a member of the China Fashion Designers Association (CFDA) Council and the Fashion Art Committee of CFDA, and has been named foremost among China’s Top 10 Fashion Designers. Relying on her talent and skills in designing and enthusiasm for the fashion industry, Guo Pei set up her own fashion kingdom quickly. Celebrities, business elites and high-end consumers are among her most loyal and prominent customers.
Carmen Dell’Orefice for ”1002 Nights Collection”, 2009 . This outfit which closed the show is so incredibly majestic and would have swallowed up any lesser beings other than the magnificent 78 year old supermodel.
Whether with her early designs for ready-to-wear clothing, which first earned her recognition, or through her current haute couture, which has won extensive praise, Guo Pei constantly challenges herself and pursues perfection. As one of earliest promoters of haute couture in China, Guo Pei’s Rose Studio, established in 1997 (the designer presented her first solo fashion show in 1996), represents the highest level of Chinese haute couture. Conceiving and overseeing every outfit, her ideas are turned into reality by over 400 craftsmen, all of whom are trained by the artist herself. Her collections are entirely sewn by hand, with some dresses requiring over 50,000 man-hours before completion. Her last and most notable show, The Legend of the Dragon, which took nearly 3 years of preparation, first showed at Beijing in 2012. She also designed a costume for the Beijing Olympics.
Most of the silk is imported directly from Italy. The local Chinese silk manufacturing is making silk for export, which often means value for money rather than making the best. ”In Italy, they will do small quantities and unusual colors. The dye is precise.” said Ms. Guo. ”We employ 450 craftsmen, of whom 300 are embroiderers and 150 are designers, pattern-makers and sewing technicians. It was initially very hard to find embroiderers. In the past decades, so much of the traditional Chinese craftsmanship has been lost. It took me 15 years to get our people to a level of craftsmanship that satisfied me. Many people look at my past fashion shows and tell me that the dresses are perfect, but I can see the imperfection.”
The most expensive outfit in her showroom is a suit for men, which is made by using 30,000 pieces of real pearls. It can cost up to 5 million RMB [$800,000]. A hand-embroidered wedding dress is about 2 million RMB, but the profit margin is not high.
Last year, Guo Pei made from 3,000 to 4,000 pieces and had about 300 regular customers.
“I love haute couture, because it is timeless. It is the opposite of ready-to-wear, which can rise to fame very quickly but also can be forgotten quickly. My hope is that my work be regarded as work in a museum collection is viewed, treasured like a piece of royal jewelry, a masterpiece that will be handed down from age to age. Real haute couture is eternal, tested by time, and, many years later, will provide a kind of glance back through time. A representation of lost glories and residual splendors, it will remain as an interpretation of the joy I have had in creating.” —Guo Pei