Iris van Herpen fascinates us. We are attracted to her fearless take on fashion. For the last ten years, the avant-garde designer has been bringing both science and technology to the fashion industry. Unafraid of redefining the definition of couture through her artistry, the high-tech priestess of fashion combines fine handwork techniques with digital technology, proving that she is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry.
This couture season, Iris van Herpen introduced the “Games of Nature” collection, at Parisian Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2018. Fusing “the artificial and the organic”, the collection was complemented by the lightweight, cellulose sculptures by Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar.
“You will see a lot of organic movement, but also you will see glitches and more graphic patterns at the same time.”
On her decision to include Gentenaar’s work, Iris explained, “I love his work as an inspiration for the collection. The show is about craftsmanship, but also the inspiration from nature.” Adding, “I looked at aerial photography and at the planet from a distance – the way organic patterns grow into more urban patterns. There was a bit of contradiction in the collection. You will see a lot of organic movement, but also you will see glitches and more graphic patterns at the same time.”
Data Dust on Couture
When you first look at the clothes, you see an optical illusion of two layers, an effect that Suzy Menkes described as “a large shape or, by contrast, a dress followed the thin line of a skinny body”. Giving off a look of natural foliage sprinkled with what Iris called “Data Dust”, the pieces were beautiful works of art.
Although the clothes were stunning, we cannot say that we did not notice the shoes. Stacked and awkward looking, the models managed, somehow, to make it look like they were walking on air. Anyone who is familiar with Iris van Herpen runway shows knows that the shoes that her models wear are not usual catwalk stompers, they are instead, showstoppers.
As the audience oohed over the striking pieces, one thing was clear; you had to be fluent in fashion tech in order to appreciate Iris’ description of her couture tech collection; “computer distorted, foam lifted, laser-cut silk tulle with radiant glitches.”