A haute couture dream of spectacular shapes, exquisite elegance, and couture craftsmanship is currently on display at the Bowers Museum in California. A chance to step into the fashion wonderland of world-renowned designer Guo Pei, the exhibition “Art of Couture” is imagination becoming reality. The couture dresses sparkling under the museum spotlights are enough to inspire limitless fashion dreams.

A creative genius, Guo Pei’s designs are truly a work of art, transcending fashion and telling a story. Bowers Museum says of Guo Pei, her “exquisite creations go beyond the runway and red carpet, creating iconic global moments and fostering a wider awareness of China’s cultural heritage and influence.” Guo Pei divinely crafts her fashion collections with historical and mythological inspiration. Showcasing meaningful and exquisite craftsmanship, each fabric, texture, crystal, and thread is placed to stun.

Guo Pei began sewing at an early age and graduated from the elite Beijing School of Industrial Fashion design at the top of her class. She established her very own atelier and label, Rose Studio, and has since been creating incredible fashion. Paris to Shanghai, Guo Pei’s showstopping designs have been showcased on runways around the world. Her immaculate skills and artisan craft works of beauty. Guo Pei dressed Rihanna for the 2015 Met Gala, held a solo exhibition in Paris at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, and had the great honor of being invited to showcase her designs in elite Paris Haute Couture Week by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Is it any wonder she claims to be one of Business of Fashion‘s 500 most influential people shaping the global fashion industry?

“I don’t follow trends or try to compete with anyone. Everything I do stems from following my passion and my love for design.”

Guo Pei

“Art of Couture” is an inspiration to walk through. Taking in couture gown and gown, each piece is unique from the next. Fabrics and textures range from silk organza to metallic fabric embellishments to draped fabric capes, flowing materials, gold thread, and even rocks, crystals, and rhinestones. Vogue says this designer’s creations seem to “defy the possibilities of needle and thread.” The pristine embroidery on every single dress is pure art. Applique, beadwork, satin stitch, and padded satin stitch are a few of the many complex embroidery techniques used in Guo Pei’s designs. This detail work is compelling and magnificent. Some designs even seem as though they are ballet-inspired!

Among the gowns on display was a silk gown mirroring a painting in motion with frescoes printed on the dress fabric. Bowers Museum describes Guo Pei’s work. “The interplay of female empowerment, strength, and vulnerability are all reflected in exquisitely rendered couture.” Each original dress tells a story through color and design.

“I feel that couture shouldn’t just be clothing. It’s an artistic expression.”

Guo Pei

As I floated through this exhibit—three times to fully take everything in—what stood out was the precise care and fashion-focused detail in every collection. The beauty was in each dress as well as the accompanying luxurious jewelry. Gowns were matched with glimmering rings, earrings, and beaded necklaces. Guo Pei truly completed each outfit. The dresses are paired with equally stunning shoes, platforms heels that are sometimes even as detailed as the dresses themselves. A few of these ornate high heels reminded me of pointe shoes while other collections had sparkling crowns and mythical headpieces fit for the stage.

One of my favorite Guo Pei designs is in the Spring 2017 “Legend” collection. The dress, full of glamor, is a mermaid-silhouette gown in perfect pink satin. This unforgettable dress features translucent round sleeves, metallic fabric with silver thread embroidery (in both standard and padded satin stitch), and Swarovski crystal and zircon bead details that circle the gown’s infinity edges. The pink angelic design carried through the entire look complete with a radiant ring for each finger and a full-circle jeweled crown starring a transparent bubble on top. This is a dress you dream of twirling in.

“Art can really make everyone think and make everyone feel something…”

Guo Pei

Every design starts with a sketch. Guo Pei is a beautiful visionary of fashion art. As an aspiring fashion designer, getting to experience the creativity, skill, and beautiful exhibition milestone of a fashion innovator I look up to is truly special. I feel very inspired and excited to get to share details and photos from this exhibition. Guo Pei even has a coloring book that invites fashionistas and aspiring designers to collaborate directly with her amazing design process using color and sketching. This curated presentation of “Art of Couture” is an exciting look into a legendary designer’s work and process.

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Christy Lyn is a ballerina, model, designer, and choreographer. She started dancing at a very young age and currently choreographs and trains in multiple styles of dance with a focus in ballet. Her choreography work has debuted at the Lincoln Center in the Youth America Grand Prix Gala, “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow.” Christy walks and dances in fashion shows for national and international designers at LAFW and NYFW. She is also the unstoppable designer and founder of the chic dance fashion brand Royal Couture.