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19/10/2017

Guo Pei: the Chinese designer who made Rihanna's omelette dress

Guo Pei: the Chinese designer who made Rihanna's omelette dress

Chinese designer Guo Pei had been creating couture for more than 30 years when Rihanna stepped on to the red carpet in an extraordinary yellow cape two years ago. Dubbed the omelette dress for its striking resemblance to brunch, it went viral and made the world notice Guo’s work.

The dress wasn’t designed for Rihanna. In fact, it had been sitting in Guo’s studio for three years when the singer’s team came across it after making inquiries into Chinese couture during the run up to the 2015 Met Gala, the theme of which was China: Through the Looking Glass.

Beijing-born Guo, who turned 50 recently, cut her teeth in fashion design following the Cultural Revolution. As Cathy Horyn explained in the New York Times, her career as a designer “began when there was no fashion in her country”. For the past 20 years, Guo has focused on high fashion, specialising in technical work that is grand in dimension and scale and as intricate as that of any Paris couture house. It’s no wonder that she has appeared at Paris couture week, last year becoming the first Chinese national to do so.The now-famous Yellow Empress cape weighs 25kg, has a 16ft train, features over 50,000 hour’s worth of hand embroidery and took two years to make. The sheer weight of the dress meant that, when it was first shown, at a 2012 show in China, the model made it only halfway down the catwalk before the lights had to be turned off and the show stopped so that she could remove the cape and return backstage.

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