Guo Pei

time 100 2016 guo pei
Miguel Medina—AFP/Getty Images

China’s hautest couturier

Guo Pei was launched into the international spotlight last May after dressing Rihanna for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute gala, but some of us have been well aware of her exquisite talent for a long time. She already had fame in China, where she has dressed celebrities for over 20 years. I still remember my first visit to her showroom in Beijing many years ago—it was nothing short of breathtaking. Ironically, when Rihanna approached her, Guo was unaware of who she was!

When an artist finds success beyond China, there is a great sense of national pride, and Guo is no exception. Her work showcases Chinese technique—intricate skill and incredible craftsmanship—and it reflects the endless hours dedicated to bringing beauty, romance and her imagination to life. In fact, Rihanna’s dress took over two years to make. Guo’s work is art.

As a Chinese haute couturier with a showroom in Paris, a special-edition cover of American Vogue, a MAC collaboration and designs on display at the Met, Guo’s influence on fashion and culture is enormous, barrier breaking—not defined by East or West. And it doesn’t matter where you’re from; you can sense the emotion in her fashion. That’s what art does: it moves you.

Murdoch is a film producer, entrepreneur and co-founder of Artsy

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