LONDON — Guo Pei is passionate about her work, and enjoys being one of the latest members of the world of haute couture. She is surprisingly eloquent, too.
“I used to be very shy, but as a lot of people don’t understand what I am trying to do, I must explain and defend my vision,” said Guo, the first couturier coming out of China. Her brand became globally recognizable after Rihanna stepped onto the Met Gala red carpet in a golden “pancake” dress in 2015.
It was revealed in July that she would select works for the second edition of “Gold: The Midas Touch” sale in London this month, and one of them, a one of a kind, new gold traditional bridal dress, will be auctioned on Oct. 29 with an estimated price of $620,000 to $870,000.
Guo said it took craftsmen five years in her Rose studio atelier in Beijing to complete the dress. The couture creation was hand-sewn with gold thread in-laid with the precious metal. She employed around 30 stitching techniques adapted from across the globe to create the piece, forming a three-dimensional effect of phoenixes and dragons by embroidering over sheepskin, which gives the fabric different heights.
She also said the dress represents the epitome of humanity and her life experience. “It’s not purely Chinese, some elements are drawn from the West. A traditional Chinese wedding dress is always fitting to the body. Just like how women are perceived in Chinese culture, they are submissive. But my dress comes with a bold volume. To me, this represents the best form of harmony between cultures. I refuse to just look into a certain kind of culture when I design. After all these years, my experience with all the cultures, whether East or West, has become a part of me.”
For her, the partnership with Sotheby’s is a seal of approval of the artistic value of haute couture. “I feel our partnership is an answer to couture’s future. Couture will be considered an art form in the future and this partnership has paved the way for this possibility,” Guo said.
“This dress may not come with a rich history like other antiques in the auction, but it will become a part of the story of whoever will be buying it. In 50 years or 500 years, this dress will witness a lot of amazing history,” she added.
There are three additional dresses by Guo Pei on display at Sotheby’s. Though not available through auction, one can order them by private sale.