“I’ve tried to use traditional skills to touch people, to move their minds and souls, to let them feel that they are really beautiful, rare and precious.” – Guo Pei


Pietra Brettkelly
New Zealand, China | 2018 | 93 min
Benelux Premiere

Recognition from Paris’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is considered the apex of the fashion industry, and Chinese designer Guo Pei is determined to reach it.
With a remarkable eye for detail and exquisite blending of visual art forms, veteran documentarian Pietra Brettkelly (A Flickering Truth, The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins) captures Guo’s drive, artistry, meticulousness, and acumen, from the designer’s emergence on the international scene—when Rihanna wore her hand-embroidered canary yellow gown to the Met Gala in 2015.

That dress won Guo Pei international attention. It was sweet vindication for the Chinese couturier, who’d grown up in the Cultural Revolution when Mao suits were the only acceptable fashions, embroidery was ‘feudal’, and her beloved grandmother told her to forget about yellow dresses. Nevertheless, Guo thrives amid these challenges, establishing herself as a singularly capable and uncompromising warrior for her art.

With loving fidelity for Guo’s work, Brettkelly depicts both the process and the fashion itself, resulting in a timely examination of what it takes for an outsider to earn acclaim from one of the West’s most redoubtable institutions.

“Impressive … An intimate, involving portrait of Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Cracking the Frame
Established in 2011, Cracking the Frame is a monthly program featuring an international selection of theatrically unreleased, critically acclaimed documentary portraits of established contemporary artists, photographers, filmmakers and global thinkers.

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