Iris van Herpen, 10 Years of Redefining the Definition of Couture Through Artistry, Science and Technology

In her 10 year career, Iris van Herpen has successfully blurred the lines between fashion and art by using technology to reinvent couture in a way that was never imagined.

Muchaneta Kapfunde
Founding Editor in Chief at | editor@fashnerd.com

Founding editor-in-chief & WearableTechStylist of FashNerd.com has worked in the fashion industry for over 14 years. She is currently one of the leading influencers speaking and writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She also contributes to other digital news sites like Wareable.

Iris van Herpen fascinates us. We are attracted to her fearless take on fashion, and how for the last 10 years she has been bringing science and technology to fashion. We respect that as she evolves, she continues to be a woman who is unafraid to redefine the definition of couture through her artistry.

Making a name for herself as the high-tech priestess of fashion, Iris first presented her avant-garde fashion in Amsterdam. Then she was invited by the Fédération Française de la Couture in 2011, where she combined fine handwork techniques with digital technology, proving that she is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry.

“I want to contribute and empower the 21st century of haute couture.”

Credited with being the first designer to create a 3D printed dress for a fashion collection, this couture season, Iris showed 16 looks in celebration of her 10th anniversary. On her couture dresses collection, the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts graduate, recently told Vogue, “I want to contribute and empower the 21st century of haute couture. And by haute couture, I mean more generally “the art of fashion,” the place where innovation and craft are perfected into the finest possible level”.

Iris van Herpen’s Aeriform Collection

This season, the designer continues her exploration of new forms of femininity and craftsmanship. The Aeriform haute couture collection examines the nature and anatomy of air and the idea of airborne materiality and lightness, creating negative and positive space with shadow and light. According to Iris, she drew inspiration from the Danish underwater artists Between Music who challenge the relationship between the body and its elemental surround, in a subaquatic environment where the air is absent. “Their liquid voices and the subsonic darkness from Between Music overwhelmed me. It motivated me to dive into the contrasts between water and air, between inside and outside, between darkness and lightness,” said Iris.

“We respect that as she evolves, she continues to be a woman who is unafraid to redefine the definition of couture through her artistry.”

Showcasing structural and visual components combined with elaborate silhouettes, Iris van Herpen’s collection is influenced by the development of both the textiles and garment construction. She reflects this in the volumes, rippling patterning and translucent layering. We were wowed by the biomorphic structures that included a feathery-light metal lace of geodesic floral patterns in collaboration with Philip Beesley. Floating around the body like a silver cloud, it echoed waves of mylar bonded cotton that rippled across the skin, mapping the surface of the body and painting its contours.

Iris van Herpen
Iris van Herpen Shoes

With so much going on with the couture tech garments, some people might not have noticed the shoes, but we did. Made from a soft suede with a parametric welded metal heel, they were beautifully created with a delicate molecular lattice around the foot.

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