Editor’s Note (12/20/2022): This article has been corrected to indicate that the exhibition is at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, not the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco.
Photographer David Christopher Lee photographed 21 of Chinese designer Guo Pei’s iconic works at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California.
The exhibition “Guo Pei: Art of Couture,” which is a collaboration with David’s Guide
, opened on Nov. 12. It features over 40 works of couture art chosen by the renowned designer.
“Each gown [in the exhibition] not only underscores her unique ability to tap into China’s rich cultural heritage, but also an array of cultural influences from international arts, architecture and mythology. The interplay of female empowerment, strength and vulnerability are all reflected in exquisitely rendered couture. The exhibition is further enriched by the inclusion of a number of influential pieces from her highly successful and much lauded couture bridal wear, which makes its North American debut at the Bowers,” the Bowers Museum website
“Guo Pei: Art of Couture” will close on May 14, 2023.
Guo began her career nearly 20 years ago in China, where the 55-year-old designer is widely regarded as “China’s first couturier.” She has dressed many celebrities in her home country, including actor Li Bingbing and singer Song Zuying.
In 2015, she reached global heights after musician Rihanna chose to wear her design “Yellow Queen.” The elaborate dress, which took Guo two years to make by hand, became an internet sensation.
Lee’s photographs, along with other photos provided by the museum, captured the opulence that makes Guo’s body of work so distinctive for audiences who were unable to attend the exhibition. With influences from imperial China, European architecture, decorative arts and floral motifs, Guo’s dresses include elaborate stitching and pleating, rich textural elements and materials such as silk and metallic threads.
See Lee’s photographs below.