The National Museum of Natural History in Paris is famous for its herd of taxidermy animals, lined up as if on migration, and it inspired Guo Pei’s collection for fall, dubbed Savannah.
“I feel that on wild animals, you can truly feel the beauty of life,” she said in a 10-minute film exalting the painstaking craft behind her clothes.
Three-dimensional embroideries, some in felted wool, brought the animals to vivid life, floppy ears, eyelashes and all. A gray tailored suit featured the head of an elephant on the back, its fabric faithfully rendering the wrinkles of the animal’s skin, the trunk curled over the buttocks. Giraffes rested their heads on the bodice of dresses and their long tufted necks followed the line of the spine on one coat.
The couturier used ample shapes and simple cuts so as not to distract from the intricacy of the embellishments.
While it was all artfully crafted, the collection came off as cartoon-like. One bustier dress had a zebra’s rear end embedded on the bodice: wild but not in a good way.