Now world-famous for her design of Rihanna’s legendary yellow Met Gala gown this year, Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei has been given honorary couture status by the French regulating commission that awards the designation.
The designer was chosen along with Yacine Aouadi and Iris Van Herpen this year for the “Invited Members” list of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, joining official members including Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy to show at Paris Couture Fashion Week in January. She is the second Chinese designer to be invited, following China-born, Paris-raised couture designer Yiqing Yin’s invitation in 2012.
“It gives us great pleasure and honor to officially announce that Guo Pei, our elite Asian Couturier Extraordinaire and founding member designer of the Asian Couture Federation, has been extended an invitation as an Invited Member to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris (Fédération Française de la Couture),” said Frank Cintamani, the president of the Asian Couture Federation, in a statement. “We would like to gratefully extend our appreciation to everyone especially our friends, counterparts and colleagues in France who helped with making this groundbreaking historical moment for Asian Couture a reality. This is a very significant step forward in the recognition and celebration of the tremendous amount of couture talent and creativity that exist within Asia!”
With her designs worn in the past by stars including Zhang Ziyi and Lady Gaga, Guo Pei’s global recognition has skyrocketed since Rihanna was one of the only celebrities to show up in Chinese-designed dress at the China-themed Met Gala this year. The iconic gown took two years to make, and (thanks in part to a host of internet memes) became the most talked-about piece on the red carpet. Guo Pei was also one of the only Chinese designers with pieces featured in the “China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibition that the gala was celebrating.
In April, she released a 16-piece makeup collection with MAC Cosmetics, and her designs were displayed at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs to promote the collaboration, including Rihanna’s Met Gala gown.
Despite the over-the-top opulence of Guo Pei’s creations—including one gown that required four men to carry the train, the designer recently asserted “I don’t like the concept of luxury” in an interview with New York Magazine. She went on to explain, “In China, luxuries are seen as things you don’t really need and it conveys a negative feeling. In my opinion, luxury is products that are beautiful, elegant, and represent the culture. It’s born of love.”