Remember Rihanna’s stunning MET Gala yellow couture gown? You may recall that it was designed by Guo Pei, one of China’s most revered haute couturier. If you were a fan of the design, you may be excited to know that Guo Pei has partnered with MAC Cosmetics to create a limited-edition collection inspired by her breathtaking gowns!
On Wednesday night, I attended the press preview cocktail party for the collection at Orange County’s South Coast Plaza – an evening hosted by MAC Director of Makeup Artistry Gregory Arlt that consisted of delicious hors d’oeuvres including a special Pei Cocktail, a sneak peek of the collection, and a look at four exclusively designed bespoke haute couture gowns created by the amazing Guo Pei herself in celebration of the collaboration! Besides on Rihanna, I’ve come across Guo Pei’s work on Tumblr multiple times and remember staring at the images, completely spellbound, but that was nothing compared to seeing her gowns in person. I was blown away by all the handcrafted, gold-dipped details – details so intricate that it took over 10,000 hours to craft each individual gown, which seem to be inspired by a mix of Chinese and European elements. Prior to this event, these four gowns were kept hidden away at museums in Paris and then in New York City, respectively, and thus the exhibition at South Coast Plaza will be the first time the gowns have been seen by the public.
Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics, here’s a special Q + A session with Guo Pei, who shares some interesting background behind the collection:
How did the M·A·C Guo Pei collaboration come about?
M·A·C is the authority in makeup and trends. In 2003, when I was preparing for my first show in China, the first brand that I wanted to work with was M·A·C. It was a dream came true that I teamed up with M·A·C for the first time on my show. It has since been 12 years; the next step to collaborate on a makeup collection with MAC was a natural and organic progression. It was the perfect collaboration based on our mutual understanding and relationship of many years.
What was your inspiration for the MAC collaboration? How was the process of creating a line of cosmetics different from when you create your clothes?
I call my inspiration “The Garden of Soul”. Everyone has a space in their heart where we cherish beautiful things with our eyes, and we plant them like seeds in our spiritual garden. The flowers blossom and we find happiness within them. Through my 30 years of career in fashion, I always find unique ways to express myself.
You created eight couture dresses to accompany the collection. Can you tell us more about them?
The design process is more like an enjoyment rather than work for me. I create those dresses at the same time as the M·A·C Guo Pei makeup collection. I imagine myself in the garden, enjoying the romance of the flowers. I designed the dresses three years ago on a beautiful afternoon when I felt really happy – a feeling that I want to convey in my designs. It took me two years to produce those eight looks. I felt these dresses complemented this collection perfectly, unifying fashion and beauty.
How did you this translate your experience in fashion to makeup?
There are a lot of similarities between makeup and clothes. For me, they are both a way to express our happiness. That’s why we need colours when creating both. Colours express our feelings; I used a variety of hues in my clothes and in this makeup collection to convey my emotions.
What was your inspiration when choosing the colours and products for this collection?
The colours I selected for this collection can be divided into daytime makeup and evening makeup. I chose a striking blue shade for the eyes, evoking the colour of the soul. I like to express happiness through my love for flowers and the spiritual garden. That’s why in all the blushes and powders there is gleam of shimmer in them. I want to deliver the feeling of happiness through this makeup collection.
Which of the 16 products do you feel most fond of and why?
My one favorite product is the eye shadow quad, especially the blue one. Blue is a very bold colour, also my favorite. For me, it is also the colour of the mind and spirit. I hope women today can add a little bit of blue in their eye makeup so people can connect through their eyes into their souls.
Scroll down to see all the photos from the press event as well as the complete MAC x Guo Pei collection, which you can purchase here. Inspired by Guo Pei’s “garden of the soul,” the makeup collection brings the designer’s legendary elegance to an inspired collection of hues, merging vibrant jewel tones with lush neutrals, punctuated by deep graphite. The limited edition collection will only be available through November 1.
The one-of-a-kind couture exhibit featuring the four stunning gowns is also now open to for public viewing through Sunday, October 4. Keep in mind that this will be the only U.S. exhibition and is the first time that these gowns have been seen by the public. If you can make your way to Orange County to view this unique exhibition, I highly recommend doing so! It’s the perfect example of fashion and beauty merging with art. Hours are as follows:
Friday, October 2: 10am – 9pm
Saturday, October 3: 10am – 8pm
Sunday, October 4: 11am – 6:30pm
MAC Cosmetics at South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626