“It felt like a fairy tale, like ‘Cinderella.’ The matching of the jewelry with the dresses was stunning, there were so many different ideas and colors, this feeling of so many possibilities,” said front-row guest Juliette Binoche of Guo Pei’s characteristically fantasy-fueled collection.
Last season Pei trod a medieval princess theme; here, for her first collaboration with a jewelry brand, Chopard, the Chinese designer paid homage to the golden era of haute couture. She experimented with classic silhouettes ranging from gravity-defying puffball shapes to gowns with ornate bustiers and big-volume skirts — some so supersized they had a hard time getting through the runway door. Iridescence and shine were key.
The couturier completed the collection in one month, a record by her standards as a designer whose passion for painstaking handiwork knows no bounds. That doesn’t mean the creations got short shrift, though. Out came a series of stylized spins on Old Hollywood-style gowns with effects ranging from all-over hand fringing and sequined crusts to fanning necklines or gold-leaf leaves gleaming from under layers of tulle. There were even red and gold Chinese lanterns emerging from the trailing sleeves of a silver Guinevere-style gown.
Not forgetting the baubles, with Chopard’s Caroline Scheufele incorporating bold stones linked to the East like jade and gems in hues “that are important to China,” such as red and yellow. “China is a huge market, the Chinese clients are just discovering quality, so it’s the right time for us to be there. It’s not by chance that I called the collection The Silk Road,” said Scheufele backstage. “In ancient times there were lots of things transported from the East to the West and vice versa, and it’s wonderful to get an inside view of another culture.”