Guo Pei – The Designer Who Spent Two Years Hand-Making Rihanna’s Chinese Couture Met Gala Gown
From pizzas to omelettes, Rihanna’s canary yellow gown was the topic of many fan-created memes that quickly went viral on Twitter and Instagram following her appearance at the Met Gala on Monday.
But the Bajan singer’s dress is actually considered by the fashion industry as a piece of couture and it took two entire years to handcraft. The dress was designed by Guo Pei, a designer that Rihanna found online, and while you may not have heard of her, she’s considered to be one of the most esteemed designers in China.
The 45-year-old designer creates lavish designs for Chinese stars like Li Bingbing and Zhang Ziyi and has even been compared to prestigious couturier, Charles James, who was the subject of last year’s Costume Institute exhibit.
The Beijing-based designer believes that it’s her responsibility to convey China’s tradition and past through her designs, as well as redefine couture in her home country Indeed, two of Pei’s pieces feature in this year’s China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition, which Monday night’s gala celebrated.
One of her designs, Magnificent Gold, took 50,000 hours to make and takes up an entire room. Pei imports luxurious materials, such as silk, and can spend years working on a single item.
She employs 450 craftsmen, of whom 300 are embroiderers and 150 are designers, and, according to the Wall Street Journal , the most expensive outfit in her showroom is a man’s suit made from 30,000 pieces of real pearl that can cost up to £500,000. Some pictures of her exquisite designs below.