Guo Pei (郭培, born 1967) is a Chinese fashion designer. She is best known for designing dresses for Chinese celebrities, and in America for Rihanna’s trailing yellow gown at the 2015 Met Ball. Guo is the first born-and-raised Asian designer to be invited to become a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. In 2016, Time Magazine listed her as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People.
Guo was born in Beijing. Her father was a senior official and her mother a kindergarten teacher.
Based in Beijing, Guo’s fashion style borrows heavily from traditional Chinese imperial court design. Many pieces in her collection involve silk, fur and embroidery work. Guo’s work includes those at the 2008 Summer Olympics and the annual CCTV New Year’s Gala.She designed the dress worn by Song Zuying during her duet with Plácido Domingo at the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. The dress took two weeks to create, with 200,000 Swarovski crystals hand-sewn into the white gown.
Her “One Thousand and Two Nights” collection debuted in November 2009, during China Fashion Week. American model, Carmen Dell’Orefice appeared in the show wearing an elaborate white embroidered fur-lined gown, with an escort of four to help carry its train. Dell’Orefice later went on to compare Guo to Charles James. Guo was credited as a costume designer on the set of the 2014 film The Monkey King. The film’s makeup and costume departments were nominated for a Hong Kong Film Award the following year but lost out to Man Lim Chung, in The Golden Era.
In 2008, Guo conceived a canary yellow floor-length dress with a large circular train, edged with yellow coloured fur and embroidered with silver floral patterns. It took approximately 50,000 hours over two years for her design team to create and weighed about 25 kg (55 lb) on completion. Bajan singer Rihanna came across the piece on the internet while researching a design for the China-themed New York Met Gala in 2015. According to Guo, when first asked she agreed to the proposal but was wary about whether the singer would be able to withstand the weight. Rihanna appeared on the red carpet in the gown, followed by a three-person entourage to hold the large train. Early reactions to the dress design spawned viral memes on social media, with the eye catching yellow material and sizable train drawing comparisons to omelettes and pizzas. A photo of the design worn by the singer was featured on the front page of Vogue’s Met Gala edition. This media exposure made Guo more recognizable among Western audiences.
Guo Pei’s works were also exhibited at the annual exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, titled “China: Through the Looking Glass”. In 2016, Guo Pei became a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Her first collection to be showcased as a part of Paris Fashion Week was her Spring Summer 2016 collection. Inspired by Spring flowers for femininity and the phoenix for peace and purity, the collection had traditional Chinese influences like gold tassles, intricate threadwork embroidery over silk, bibs and long trains.