Goe Pie’s collection evoked an exotic imperial feeling in me, and I felt like I was invited to live a mythological dream while considering her ancient traditional Chinese garments, thanks to her legendary and glorious production of dramatic themed gowns accompanied by traditional Chinese music that played at the hall. A glorious royal gold dress, inspired by a uniform worn by Napoléon Bonaparte, in particular, appealed to me and reminded me of another royal dress from the Rocco era worn by Marie Antoinette, one of the great fashion icons of her day. While both suits communicate different social messages, they also reflect exquisite craftsmanship as well as noble qualities. Goe Pie’s gold dress, however, represents a proper and proportionate fit and attracts all manner of harmonious glamour in apparel.
First, Guo pie’s gold dress is primarily made of fur – widely associated with lavish extravagance, and worn by medieval royalty. On the other hand, Marie’s golden dress seemingly avoids the use of fur by employing high-grade fabric. Marie Antoinette’s silver apparel also incorporates gold linings, albeit in a subtler manner. As positively highlighted in Owen Jones’ testament on ornaments, the gold color in both dresses is contrasted with a lower tone. The gold in Marie Antoinette’s dress is, however, juxtaposed on a much lighter background, thereby giving a less care-free impression.
Secondly, Marie and Guo employ the use of long and flashy colors which speak expressly on the status and high social class of its hosts. The 21st century seemingly maintains due respect and recognition for gold color, fur, and high-grade fabric. Wealthy women often wear lengthy apparel with flower-like ornaments. As such, corsage ornamentation begets a prettier taste of clothing.
Marie’s subtle gold gown espouses the theme of suppressed expression of extravagance and gives the idea that the designer intentionally withheld from exposing outright wealth for fear of the prevailing socio-economic environment fueled by the French revolution. In contrast, Guo Pie’s gold gown expresses out-right royalty, grandiosity, and freedom of thought. As a memorable item of art in the 21st century, Guo gives her dress proportionate length and pomp through the choice of fur and deep gold color.
Marie and Guo ultimately represent two distinctively different eras of fashion and socio-economic realities. Their gowns represent suppression and freedom of thought, respectively.
Jones, Owen. The Grammar of Ornament : Illustrated by Examples from Various Styles of Ornament : One Hundred and Twelve Platesa Visual Reference of Form and Colour in Architecture and the Decorative Arts. London: Bernard Quartitch, 1910.