Is this one of the most expensive dresses in the world?

Is this one of the most expensive dresses in the world?

As we wise up to the environmental impact of fast fashion, many of us have been changing the way we shop and focusing on buying investment pieces that will last a long time.

If you wanted to take this new mentality to the next level, you could consider  this Guo Pei designer dress which is coming up for auction.

Pei is known as China’s ‘Queen of Couture’ and this dress is very much in her wheelhouse: structured, regal and with a lot of gold. And this doesn’t come cheap, the gown is expected to go on sale for between £500,000 and £700,000 at Sotheby’s.

(Isabel Infantes/PA)
(Isabel Infantes/PA)

Pei is curating a collection of works for a sale called GOLD: The Midas Touch. The clue really is in the name and there is a lot of gold on offer, from furniture to jewellery. This is the perfect match for Pei, whose work is often centred around the precious metal and even uses 24-carat gold thread. Her catwalk shows are notoriously opulent – British Vogue say one show can cost upwards of $3 million (£2m) to stage.

As with much of her designs, this particular dress draws upon traditional Chinese art and embroidery. It is a Chinese bridal dress and there’s a reason it’s so expensive – it took five years to complete and is hand-sewn with gold thread.

Pei’s embroidery is a true art form, and one you don’t see often nowadays. Sotheby’s says she used about 30 techniques of stitches in the garment, which helped create a 3D effect on the fabric.

If it looks somewhat familiar, that’s because it has definite stylistic similarities to Pei’s most famous dress: Rihanna’s 2015 Met Gala gown. This was undoubtedly the stand-out look of the night, and has gone down as one of Rihanna’s most daring outfits.

Rihanna walked the red carpet in a canary yellow fur-lined cape with a large train, lots of detailed embroidery and a headpiece to match. The theme of the event was China: Through the Looking Glass, so it made sense for Rihanna to choose a Chinese designer, and the bright yellow was symbolic as the colour of Chinese emperors.

At the time, Rihanna told Vanity Fair that she found Pei’s work online and the outfit took two years to make. Yes, it became the subject of various memes (the train as an omelette or pizza), but that only confirms how much of an impact it had.

Pei’s work is consistently extravagant and opulent, mixing traditional Chinese embroidery techniques with precious metals and jewels.

So it really comes as no surprise this designer is responsible for one of the most expensive gowns in the world.

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