If I had said previously that Women’s Fashion Week this year is a cosy affair without the trappings of pomp and fanfare of the previous years, I take it all back.
Following closely behind the Prêt-à-Porter presentations of the previous weekend, with only a single day of rest in between, Couture Fashion Week 2012 is in an extraordinary league of its own. The grand opener was Guo Pei, presenting her latest collection, “The Legend of the Dragon”.

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From a gown that was unfurled to reveal the most exquisite handiwork of intricate embroidery and beading, each piece that followed was more fantastical, grand, and breathtaking than the last. It had been a long time since I was gripped the way I was, stuck fast to my seat, with chills running up my spine. I was completely held in Guo Pei’s enthrall.

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It was a visual and aural feast; each dress seemed to tell a story, weaving a fantasy with magic. Although always about the conveyance of the strength and beauty of the Asian culture and soul at its heart, hints of western influences could be seen. From the Victorian era, in dresses were glided down the runway to the slightly eerie tinkling of a music box.

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In an interview with the New York Times, Guo Pei admitted, “I have a desire to create something that is fashion and is not fashion, so a dress ends up weighing 50 kilos! Every piece is not fashion anymore. It’s sculpture; it’s painting. I want to put all that into a dress.” Guo Pei is not merely China’s answer to couture making. Looking back, she is a keen observer and archiver of a culture and history that continues to be preserved. Looking forward, an icon and representation of China’s new Gilded Age marked by unabashed opulence.

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The Legend of the Dragon closed with two moon fairies. One in blue, one in gold; dancing together, coming close; never too far. There couldn’t have been a clearer allusion to fluidity and fantasy.

Images: Fide Fashion Week