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Over the past 20 years, Guo Pei has emerged as one of China’s preeminent couturiers. When Placido Domingo and Song Zuying delivered the closing duet at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it was Guo’s dress of 200,000 crystals that shimmered across the world’s television screens. But Guo truly gained global attention in 2015, when Rihanna arrived at the Met Gala wearing her canary yellow gown.

Her latest coup is a show at V&A’s Fashion in Motion, an event which has been striving to present the industry’s greatest designers to a wider audience since its launch in 1999. The only surprise is that the November 1 catwalks will be her UK debut.

From to Kenzo to Yohji Yamamoto, some of Asia’s finest designer talent has been showcased at the V&A’s free to attend event and the museum has taken the opportunity to promote Guo’s upcoming show on its Weibo account, a move aimed at connecting with Chinese both traveling and at home.

For museums and cultural institutions hoping to deepen connections with the world’s most lucrative travel market, celebrating Chinese artists across social media is essential. Whether it’s an upcoming China-related exhibition or simply a reminder of the China-heritage works on display in a collection, museums should take every opportunity to engage.

“On the 20th anniversary of Fashion in Motion,” the museum announced on its Weibo page, “the V&A presents a classic design from Guo Pei, one exploring her mysterious and fantastical Alternate Universe collection”

Guo Pei Weibo

The V&A is increasingly focused on Chinese visitors with a strong presence on Chinese social media and e-commerce platforms. Image: V&A Weibo.

Guo’s latest collection was first presented at Paris Couture Week 2019 and employs the finest Chinese needlework and craftsmanship — with nods to elaborate imperial court dress — to capture themes of light and dark, good and evil, fact and fable. “I am very pleased to be the featured designer of V&A’s Fashion in Motion,” Guo said in a recent statement. “The V&A is a historic platform, preserving and celebrating art and design in many forms, from many cultures.”

Tickets for the three free shows will be available to book online from Monday 21 October.

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