View the new exhibition, Captive Beauties: Depictions of Women in Late Imperial China, now on view in the Joy Light Gallery of East Asian Art from 5 to 6 p.m.
The 2nd Annual Joy Light Lecture on East Asian Art
Widely hailed as China’s premier couturier, Beijing-based fashion designer Guo Pei uses exquisite craftsmanship, lavish embroidery, and unconventional dressmaking techniques to create a sartorial fantasy—one that fuses her personal story with myriad influences: China’s imperial past and export art, the grandeur of European court life and architecture, theater, and the botanical world. Her almost four-decade-long career is distinguished by her artistic innovation and transcultural perspective. This global worldview manifests itself in her designs, which draw equally from Asian and European aesthetic traditions to occupy a space between fashion, theater, performance, and sculpture.
Exhibition originating curator, Jill D’Alessandro, will highlight Guo Pei’s most important collections to reveal how her work and artistic approach are both deeply rooted in her heritage and shaped by the evolution of China’s fashion industry. Jill D’Alessandro is the curator in charge of costume and textile arts at The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. In her position, she oversees a collection of over 13,000 costumes and textiles from 125 countries worldwide. Since 2002, D’Alessandro has developed numerous exhibitions on a diverse variety of subjects, ranging from world textile traditions to twentieth and twenty-first-century fashion design. The broad scope of the Museums’ collections has deeply informed D’Alessandro’s worldview and she is interested in the study of textile arts as a vehicle to draw connections across cultures. More recent projects include The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll (2017) and Contemporary Muslim Fashions (2018), and Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy (2022), which she served as both curator and contributing author of the exhibition catalogues. D’Alessandro earned her bachelor’s degree from Scripps College, Claremont California and her master’s degree from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA in textile arts. In 1998, she received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in South Korea, where she focused on traditional hand papermaking techniques and their application in contemporary art.
📷 Installation view of Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy, Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 2022. Photograph by Drew Altizer. Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.