most talented and forward-thinking designers that always push to break the boundaries of fashion design. Since her first show in 2007 van Herpen has been preoccupied with inventing new forms and methods of sartorial expression of fashion by combining the most traditional and the most radical materials constructing master pieces by her unique methods to take us into her unique aesthetic vision. She calls this design ethos “New Couture.”
If I were to use one word to describe my work, it would be movement
as one of the most influential things in my life has been my classical ballet practice. Through dance I learned about the seduction of movement, the transformation of the body and the ‘evolution’ of shape. Those years taught me how to shift shape and were the birth of my interest in fashion.
I Don’t think of fashion as being clothes, or a discipline. I think of it being much more. I see fashion as a dialogue between our inside and our outside.
For me fashion is a form of art that is close related to me and my body. I see it as a very personal expression of identity combined with desire, mood and culture.
Looking around me, I consider what I can’t see as much as what I can see, and that transformative focus creates freedom in my work. Each garment and every collection is an embodiment to new understanding and discovery, on conceptual level, on the level of materiality and on the level of femininity. Its my search to new forms of femininity through organic silhouettes, delicate craftsmanship, innovation and the collaboration with other artists, architects and scientists.
There’s beauty in contrast, new terrains are found at the intersection between precision and chaos, art and science, the human touch and the high-tech, the artificial and the organic.”
Van Herpen also 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 air is absent.
Iris van Herpen
Between Music have collaborated with deep sea divers, physicists and neuroscientists over many years to develop a hypnotic biophonic sound sculpture which they perform on custom-built instruments while submerged in water. Their work transcends and transforms the conventional and natural relationship between our bodies and the elements.
“I’m doubly fascinated: I feel so free in the water – and at the same time I feel a slight hint of terror. Water is a fantastically exciting element because of its dual nature.”
Leila Skovmand, Between Music
Air and water are the structural and visual components of the eighteen elaborate silhouettes of the collection and have influenced the development of both the textiles and garment construction, which is reflected in their volumes, rippling patterning and translucent layering.
Biomorphic structures include a feathery-light metal lace of geodesic floral patterns in collaboration with Philip Beesley, which float around the body like a silver cloud. Echo waves of mylar bonded cotton ripple across the skin mapping the surface of the body and painting its contours.
The shoes are made from a soft suede with a parametric welded metal heel, creating a delicate molecular lattice around the foot.