Guo Pei was born in Beijing in 1967, at a time when high fashion and international influences were both dangerous pursuits in China. "During the Cultural Revolution, so many things were destroyed in China," she says. "Embroidery was one of them." When she launched her business in 1999, it was difficult to find skilled craftspeople. Today, she employs about 500 artisans, including 300 embroiders and 150 designers, pattern makers, and sewing technicians. Rose Studio creates imaginative, elaborate gowns for Chinese celebrities and lavish ceremonial occasions, such as the dress worn by singer Song Zuying during the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony—adorned in 200,000 Swarovski diamonds sewn on by hand.