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Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams, A Short Film Celebrating Chinese Couturier Guo Pei Launches

Guo Pei looking at the camera and holding a unraveled measure tape

Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams film still.

SAN FRANCISCO, 6 MAY 2022 – The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and NOWNESS are excited to announce the release of Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams, a lustrous short film revealing the fascinating creative journey and touching personal story behind the extraordinary designs of Guo Pei—hailed as China's first couturier. 

Known for her exquisite craftsmanship, lavish embroidery, and unconventional dressmaking techniques, Guo Pei’s name was launched into the spotlight when Rihanna wore one of her spectacular creations to the Met Gala in 2015. 

Directed by Kargo Chen, Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams takes a nostalgic look at how Guo Pei’s career was inspired by her upbringing in Beijing during China’s Cultural Revolution and the influence of the stories told to her by her grandmother, who lived during the Qing Dynasty.

Drawing on the aesthetic mood of Wong Kar Wai, a defining auteur in contemporary Chinese cinema, Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams pairs archival footage with sensual, dreamlike cinematography to explore how the cultural changes in China impacted its rise as a global fashion leader. Mirroring this, Guo Pei’s signature aesthetic evolved into the fantastical and theatrical, fusing her own interpretation of traditional Chinese embroidery with influences from Western art and architecture, and contributing significantly to her country’s increased dialogue with fashion and art in the West. 

As the most recent work in its award-winning film program FAMSF Presents, Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams was commissioned by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco to complement the upcoming Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy exhibition on display at the Legion of Honor. The film introduces fashion, design and art lovers to this exceptional artist. 

Guo Pei: Embroidered Dreams 

View the Film

Media Contacts: 

Helena Nordstrom, Director of Communications, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
hnordstrom@famsf.org

Marc MacDonald, Communications Executive, DAZED MEDIA 
marc.macdonald@dazedmedia.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the Exhibition Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy:

Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy, on view April 16, 2022 – November 27, 2022, celebrates the extraordinary designs of Guo Pei—hailed as China's first couturier—and includes more than 80 works from the past two decades highlighting her most important collections shown on Beijing and Paris runways. Through exquisite craftsmanship, lavish embroidery, and unconventional dressmaking techniques, Guo Pei creates a fantasy that fuses the influences of China’s imperial past, decorative arts, European architecture, and the botanical world. Through her extraordinary fashions, the exhibition reveals the trajectory of Guo Pei’s career as remarkable yet emblematic of China’s emergence as a leader in the fashion world in the early twenty-first century.

Couture Fantasy is presented as part of the Fine Arts 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.

About Guo Pei:

Guo Pei is China’s most renowned couturier. For over 20 years, she has been dressing celebrities, royalty, and political elite. Born in 1967, she started sewing at a very young age and quickly developed a passion for dressmaking. In 1986, she graduated at the top of her class from the Beijing Second Light Industry School, and she spent the next ten years designing for major manufacturers.

In 1997 she launched her own label and atelier, Rose Studio. Today she employs nearly five hundred skilled artisans dedicated to producing her stunning creations, some of which can take thousands of hours and up to two years to complete.

In 2015, Guo Pei became the second native Chinese member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the chief governing body of the high-fashion industry, allowing her to show on the Paris Haute Couture Week calendar. She made her Paris haute-couture debut in January 2016, unveiling her Courtyard collection to wide critical acclaim. In the same year, she was also named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and one of the Business of Fashion’s BoF 500, a list of the most influential people shaping the global fashion industry.

About NOWNESS: 

Launched in 2010, NOWNESS is the global arts and culture channel that premieres the best in art, design, fashion, beauty, music, food, travel and culture. Featuring emerging and established filmmakers and talent, its curatorial expertise and unique programming strategy provokes global inspiration and debate by creating unparalleled storytelling that celebrates the extraordinary of the every day. NOWNESS launched a Chinese-language site in 2012 more recently NOWNESS ASIA headquartered in Hong Kong. NOWNESS Global has a monthly audience reach of 45M with videos available in up to ten languages including English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian.

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco:

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco oversee the de Young, located in Golden Gate Park, and the Legion of Honor, in Lincoln Park. It is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco and one of the most visited arts institutions in the United States.

The Legion of Honor was modeled after the neoclassical Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris. The museum, designed by George Applegarth, opened in 1924 on a bluff in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate. It offers unique insight into the art historical, political, and social movements of the previous 4,000 years of human history, with holdings including ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco recently launched FAMSF Presents, a film program to bring the work of artists shown at the de Young and Legion of Honor Museums to online audiences. Through the eyes of acclaimed directors, these films will bring insight into the life and practice of each featured artist, and provide viewers a glimpse of the exhibition they have presented at the museum. The first iterations included Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are you Listening, Jules Tavernier and the Elem Pomo, Judy Chicago: Making Change, and the Webby Award winning Patrick Kelly: The American in Paris.