Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy
Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco
April 16, 2021 – September 05, 2022
Through exquisite craftsmanship, lavish embroidery, and unconventional dressmaking techniques, designer Guo Pei creates a couture fantasy that fuses the influences of China’s imperial past with export art, the grandeur of European court life, architecture, and the botanical world. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the “Museums”) are pleased to celebrate Guo Pei’s extraordinary designs with Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy, the first comprehensive exhibition of her groundbreaking work.
The exhibition will include more than 80 ensembles from the past two decades, highlighting the designer’s most important fashion collections, shown on Beijing and Paris runways, including many designs that have never before been shown to the public. Couture Fantasy will be exclusively presented at the Legion of Honor. “Drawing inspiration from European and Chinese artistic traditions, Guo Pei’s creations blur the boundaries between art and fashion. Displayed in a neoclassical architectural context at the Legion Honor, amidst our collection of European art, Pei’s designs will encourage our visitors to consider the rich historical ties between China and the West.” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: “San Francisco, with our position on the Pacific Rim and our significant Chinese heritage, is a natural location to premiere the first major museum exhibition on Guo Pei’s work and we are delighted to present her exquisite designs to US audiences.”
In the early twenty-first century, China emerged as a leader in the fashion world. The exhibition explores the career of Guo Pei – hailed as China’s first couturier – within this context. Couture Fantasy is presented as part of the Museums’ Costume and Textile arts global exhibition program, which highlights extraordinary artists and movements that have changed the course of fashion history. Recent exhibitions include Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love and Contemporary Muslim Fashions.
Artist and designer Guo Pei says: “As a creator and artist, there is no greater honour or privilege than to share my creativity with a wider audience. I am therefore honoured and humbled that the prestigious Legion of Honor Museum will be presenting a retrospective of my work. In doing so, I hope that it will bring greater awareness and understanding of my life’s passion, and convey Chinese culture, traditions and show the new face of contemporary China.”