EXHIBIT SET: The Savannah College of Art & Design has confirmed the dates for what will be Guo Pei’s first solo museum exhibition.
The show will bow Sept. 7 at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta, and will feature 30 of the designer’s intricate gowns, footwear and accessories, including the imperial yellow gown worn by Rihanna at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala in 2015. Although the musician and designer have not collaborated since that most-photographed choice, the blizzard of publicity their pairing established two years ago introduced Pei’s work to millions.
SCAD is counting on a New York-based creative collective HOWL that includes three photographers who are alumni — Jim Lind, Patrick O’Brien and Elliot Ross — to capture Pei’s designs in a monograph. The fourth member Forest Woodward is the only non-SCAD graduate. While individually the lensmen have worked with Patagonia, Carhartt and National Geographic, among other well-known brands, this is the four-year-old group’s first major fashion undertaking. Due out in December by Rizzoli, the book will also be a first for the designer. Along with photos of archival pieces, there will be a total of 44 images including some shot on old plantations such as Middleton, amidst historical ruins, and woodsy locales in the Low Country in and around Savannah, Ga.
SCAD president Paula Wallace said the tome will be part of the SCAD Museum Book Collection. A short film highlighting the alumni collaboration and the production of the book is slated to be released in conjunction with the exhibition’s opening. In addition to the Atlanta show, a more concise complementary exhibition of Pei’s work will be unveiled in October at the Pei Ling Chan Gallery in Savannah.
Product coordinator Ali Lind, whose husband Jim is the collective’s creative director, said, “It was crazy that they were doing 12 location days in Savannah for couture in this heat. We flew down eight models from New York and they were wearing Guo Pei’s very heavy garments, which were upward of 80 pounds. We were expecting it to be [a matter of], ‘Oh no, can they do it in the heat with that much weight on them?’ But it went so well, the weather really cooperated and it only rained the last day. We threw plastic tarps over the garments to make sure they didn’t get ruined or anything. So we were actually able to continue and finish, which was kind of a crazy way to wrap the locations dates. But it was really a lot of fun.”
The designer showed her most recent couture collection earlier this month in Paris and is said to be in talks with Apple about developing a iWatch and marketing partnership. Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook visited the designer’s studio in Beijing during a trip to China last summer and has stayed in touch. In an interview earlier this year with WWD, the designer’s husband Jack Tsao said, “Through her couture creations, she wants to build a cultural bridge and create a common language with the U.S., as well as in other countries around the world.”