You don’t have to be a fashion guru to remember the gown Rihanna wore to the Met Gala in 2015. The Internet nearly exploded when she stepped out in an enormous, opulent, canary yellow cape trimmed in fur with a train that went on for days. The garment reportedly weighed 55 pounds; Riri couldn’t walk without help. (Memes of the look included Big Bird and scrambled eggs.) On fashion’s big night of the year, the piece stole the show.
Little known outside of China before the Rihanna moment, Guo had been firmly established in China for nearly 20 years, designing elaborate creations for Asian royalty and celebrities. Rihanna reportedly stumbled across the gown—which took the designer nearly two years to complete—while researching Chinese couture online for the gala, which celebrated the Met exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass. In fact, Guo had never heard of Rihanna either, but she sent the gown along anyway, catapulting her into the international fashion spotlight. Now, Guo is finally getting her due in the West. Guo is the first Chinese designer to be invited to the official haute couture roster, debuting in Paris in 2016, and last year she was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people.
The exhibition opens September 7. Also on display are more than 30 of the designer’s ornate gowns, shoes, and accessories dripping with embroidery, gold, and jewels—fit only for a queen. Or Rihanna.
What: Guo Pei
Where: SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, 1600 Peachtree Street
When: September 7 through March 4
Price: $10 general admission