UNconventional: Iris Van Herpen

UNconventional: Iris Van Herpen

The essence of this avant-garde eponymous label coalesces all of the designer’s intriguing inspirations into her weaves. Read on to get a closer look.

UNconventional by FTC is a series exploring creators, designers and artists expressing unique, thought-provoking perspectives of socio-cultural and global significance through their craft. These creators stray away from the conventions and norms of everyday ideas and give them a new meaning through their otherworldly creativity.

Dutch designer, Iris Van Herpen is widely known for fusing cutting edge technology with traditional haute couture to give her designs a more architectural edge, in turn creating optical illusions, visual aesthetics and technical artistry. Having worked with artists across several disciplines the designer believes her self titled haute-couture label thrives on collaborations. A few notable artists she has worked with are Dutch artist Jolan Van Der Wiel, Canadian architect Philip Beesley on 'Magnetic Motion', Japanese musician Kazuya Nagaya on ‘Seijaku’ (Japanese word and concept for finding serenity amidst life’s chaos.) and for her latest F/W 2020 Couture, Spanish neuroanatomist Ramón y Cajal on 'Sensory Seas'.

A look from “Seijaku”; Exploring the study of cymatics
A look from “Seijaku”; Exploring the study of cymatics

Van Herpen heavily draws inspirations from art, science, architecture, nature, biology which is why each of her pieces reflect the likes of a consolidated installation more than just a wearable garment.

Look 13 off “Ludi Naturae”; Tracing the laws of entropy
Look 13 off “Ludi Naturae”; Tracing the laws of entropy

Some of her most complicated dresses ever, 'The Infinity Dress' from the 'Hypnosis' collection is a great example of the complicated yet intricate designs of her creations.

Consisting of 19 silhouettes, this collection revived the ancient silk moiré weaving technique that showcases the illusory nature of human nature through multilayering. Van Herpen derived inspiration from the hypnotic manifolds through the work of American Kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe, who creates wind-driven sculptures with the help of computer-aided designs, while shaping the metal components with a plasma cutter using traditional metalworking techniques.

'The Infinity Dress' with the 'Omniverse'
'The Infinity Dress' with the 'Omniverse'

Howe's spherical ‘Omniverse’ sculpture surrounds the models and explores the relationship with nature and intertwines with infinite expansion and contraction, depicting a universal life cycle. The meditative movement of the ‘Omniverse’ acts as a sort of portal for the collection and the models, encircling a state of hypnosis almost.

The finale ‘Infinity’ dress comes alive as an engineered skeleton of aluminium, stainless steel and bearings, embroidered with a delicate layering of feathers that revolve around their own centre.

'The Infinity Dress'
'The Infinity Dress'

The 'Hypnosis' collection is a hypnotic visualization of nature’s tapestry, the symbiotic cycles of our biosphere that interweave the air, land, and oceans. It also reflects the ongoing dissection of the rhythms of life and resonates with the fragility within these interwoven worlds.

Iris Van Herpen

'Suminagashi'
'Suminagashi'

Additionally, the ‘Suminagashi’ garments in the collection reflect the art of Japanese floating ink on water and are lasercut into liquid lines of dyed silk, heat bonded onto transparent tulle to seamlessly flow over the skin mimicking reflection ripples on to the body.

Through her pristine state-of-the-art designs and architectural embellishments, Van Herpen makes for one of the best couturiers out there, amalgamating the best of all possible worlds into one.

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