Guo Pei X ACM ​: How Chinese Art and Couture can come together

Asian Civilisation Museum

I love hanging out at Museums and some of the best museums I’ve visited is the Asian Civilisation Museum(ACM). It kind of grows on you as you learn more about the story behind each artefact and how each exhibit strives to tell a story.

There is always a reason to head back to the same museum over and over again especially when they held special exhibitions that lasted for a limited period of time. In fact, ACM’s recent special exhibit, Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture is one that you must not miss especially if you are into fashion art and sewing. Ever since I am into sewing and tailoring, I had a greater appreciation for couture and dressmaking. Having that said, it is enough to propel me out of my comfortable seat and make a trip down to the museum.

Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

If you do not already know about Guo Pei, here’s a brief introduction to this Beijing-born fashion designer and dressmaker.

She is China’s leading Couturière who designs and make dresses that are largely inspired by Chinese imperial culture, legends, fairytales and nature. Each collection of her dresses requires the work of over 500 artisans who spend over a thousand hours to work on the intricate designs of the dress by hand. Some of her dramatic, sculptural dresses were even featured at Paris Haute Couture Week.

To me, this is a true work of art which seems almost impossible to replicate by machine. That is what makes each dress so precious.

It is a paid exhibition.

Unfortunately, you will need to buy tickets in order to view Guo Pei: Chinese Art and Couture exhibit at level 2 of the gallery. It must haveb been quite costly to ship the delicate couture pieces over to the museum for exhibit. However, there is a section of Guo Pei’s gallery which doesn’t require a ticket.

To get to this part of the gallery, you will just need to climb up the long flight of stairs next to the entrance of the museum. It will lead you to the foyer when you see view the infamous fashion couture piece that Rihanna has worn on the red carpet during the 2015 Costume Institute Benefit (a.k.a ‘Met Gala’).

The Infamous Yellow Empress Cape

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

I’m glad that Rihanna flaunted this extraordinary long and heavy cape onto the red carpet because it is an incredibly beautiful piece to wear for such a significant event. However, some of the media dubbed it as the ‘omelette dress’. I could only say that these people are ‘hungry’ after the wrong things. Must everything look like food to them?

Interactive Booths at the Foyer

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

The best part about this exhibit is probably the details and thought processes that were put into creating these interactive stations where visitors get to find out more about the stitching technique and fabrics used by Guo Pei.

An Opportunity for Inspiring Young Fashion Designers to create

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

There are colouring booths for children to express their creativity on colouring sheets. Even adults can take part in this experiential learning and join in the fun.

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

Experience what it is like to be a fashion designer

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

Have you tried sewing or embroidery before? Here’s a kid-friendly version of learning how to stitch.

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

You can even drape pieces of fabrics onto the mini mannequins to experience what it is like to be a dressmaker. There’s even a station for you to feel the textures of the fabrics and other materials used in Guo Pei’s designer dresses.

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

How about taking some insta-worthy pictures at this makeshift photo booth here? I must say that ACM really did a great job to get visitors to be more involved in this exhibit. It is more than just a gallery-walk-kind-of experience.

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

Guo Pei’s Actual Design sketches

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

We also get to go ‘behind-the-scenes’ and understand the inspiration behind Guo Pei’s creations. I found Guo Pei’s sketches to be a work of art itself. It is interesting to see how she transforms her vision into reality.

The Main Exhibit

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

The main exhibit is some distance away from the foyer on the second level. But it was not too difficult to find the main exhibit as there are many signboards around the museum which directed us to the right gallery.

29 Guo Pei Creations

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

There is a total of 29 Guo Pei creations which are on display, juxtaposed alongside with the artworks in the collection of the ACM.

One of her signature collections is the bridal dresses which were inspired by Peranakan art. Hence, you will see the intricate details of beadwork and embroidery objects on her dresses. What made these dresses so alluring is probably how Guo Pei has woven historical elements in her contemporary designs.

Be dazzled by Guo Pei’s Chinese-inspired couture

Just look at all the minute details of each dress! What more can I say? This exhibit is a true feast for the eyes. The true emblem of beauty in these dresses lies in each stitch and woven thread. Be prepared to be amazed by her glorious work of art.

My favourite would still have to be her iconic Chinese porcelain-inspired dress. The blue motifs on the dress look incredibly beautiful.

The exhibit ends tomorrow, 15 September so do make a trip down to the exhibit before it is over.

A picture paints a thousand words. I shall let these photos below speak for itself.

Bridal Ensembles

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

Peranakan Beadwork

Guo Pei’s bridal collection was largely inspired by Peranakan beadwork. She even used glass beads (as small as 1mm) imported from Europe to embellish her dresses.

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

Gold is the colour of Guo Pei’s soul

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

Guo Pei is fond of resplendent yellow and gold as both are lavish colours which have a deep significance in Chinese culture. Gold is associated with royalty and wealth while the colour, yellow has been associated with one of the five Chinese elements, earth.

When she was ten, she asked for a yellow dress. But her mother rejected her request as she said that yellow is only for the imperial family.

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

Emperor’s Robe

The emperor’s robe is said to have 8 dragon motifs sewn on it. But there is only 7 dragons on the exterior. Where’s the 8th dragon?

Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum
Guo Pei Asian Civilisation Museum

Comments and Questions? Leave Me A Note