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Guo Pei: Himalaya

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Guo Pei Himalaya Collection
Guo Pei Himalaya Collection

Following my recent post about Guo Pei’s Alternate Universe collection, another one especially caught my eye. Guo Pei calls the collection “Himalaya.” Guo Pei creates yet another world where her imagination meets arcane symbology and creates a story. She describes the Himalayas as a holy place with the gods’ residence and the soul’s sacred temple, where the spirits fly up to reach the divine. Guo Pei said, “When I was young, in my heart, haute couture was like the Himalayas, the pinnacle of the pyramid for me.”

As we know, Guo Pei also loves using unique fabrics, which she did again in this collection. Antique textiles were used as a symbol of permanence. She sourced rare obi fabrics from Japan and cut silk kimono belts into squares. She also had traditional Buddhist thangkas embroidered on the reconstructed fabrics. You will find the three buddhas of the three realms and mysteries of the circle of life in three-dimensional, gold thread motifs on thick brocades. This fabric was also used for large sleeves that trail onto the ground or twirled into snow lotuses. The lotuses grow above the snow line and remain uncontaminated, like a pure soul. In her eyes, it is a symbol of purity and the snow goddesses.

Not only does Guo Pei use intricate fabrics, but also extravagant shapes in her designs. Simple silhouettes were inspired by kimonos, and Tibetan garb turned into other ideas. The multi-layered, flowy silhouettes are inspired by traditional Tibetan designs, reflecting freedom and uninhibited nomadic culture at the foot of the Himalayas. The shorter skirts were made of layers of organza that sprouted feathers and bloomed three-dimensional flowers. Even the flowers were designed from a scarce Himalayan plant with prodigious healing properties. As for the finale look, the model wore a ceremonial brocade cape with a long train embroidered with Buddhist thangka using gold thread, pearls, and gemstones.

Many people still do not consider fashion as art because they believe it can’t have interpretations like paintings do. Guo Pei consistently breaks this stereotype by blending her imagination and history together.

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