After this year’s Met Gala — “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” — it was difficult not to read Guo Pei’s fall collection as a continuation of the event’s theme with silhouettes echoing the architectural lines of arches, buttresses and towers. The Chinese couturier took her heavenly inspiration and ran with it, one statuesque silhouette at a time. With their hieratic mien, they embodied the daring with which she approaches any subject that strikes her considerable imagination.
The recurring motifs drawn from Gothic architecture hinted at the churches from which the show’s decor — a room dedicated to religious reliefs in Paris’ architecture museum — was drawn. Corsets cinched the waist, one with paniers reaching weightlessly into the air. Many of her designs came richly embroidered with three-dimensional elements. In a standout, filigree structures appeared to be drawn in the air just above the surface of the dress.
Through a translator, Pei highlighted the link between time and space, architecture and history. In a nutshell, she qualified it as a quest for soul. In that regard, Gothic architecture was no exotic inspiration but “it belongs to humanity. It has a special strength. It belongs and is a tribute to humanity,” she said.
As for the wearability of her designs, the couturier is unbothered. “Haute couture is about expressing spirit in creation. It has to be a bit mad, otherwise it mingles with ready-to-wear,” she said.