Iris van Herpen: Still Pushing Boundaries

This piece is part of a series on “Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion” to celebrate the designer’s first stateside exhibit as its travels around North America. Today we take a look at the projects Iris has pursued since “Transforming Fashion” debuted. Join us again tomorrow for the grand opening of ‘Transforming Fashion” at the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Adwoa Aboah, Iris van Herpen, Vogue Spain, Michelle Crosland, A rebel in Prada
Adwoa Aboah wearing ‘Between the Lines’ Couture dress for Vogue Spain.
Photography: Emma Summerton. Styled by: Patti Wilson.

Since launching the North American tour of her solo retrospective, Iris has been back in the studio collaborating with artists and architects to create her latest collection “Between the Lines” presented at Paris Couture Week in January. From

“Between the Lines” explores the imperfection of systems and structure in both the physical and digital worlds. van Herpen focuses on the gaps in between the structures of her materials, rather then the structures themselves, by shaping patterns that dissimulate the body’s perspective or subtract it. By building up the patterns and then distorting them, the eye’s perspective is tricked and challenged to see new patterns occurring in between. Linear shifts and sharp contrasts form the base of this innovative approach to material development and pattern making and challenge us to “mind the system, but to find the gaps.”

To compliment her vision for this show, van Herpen collaborated with the Berlin artist Esther Stocker, who is known for her manipulation of dimensional geometries. She subverts spatial grids until the mind starts making linear connections that aren’t really there. For this show Stocker creates a tunnel of visual distortion, in which the models evolve within a conflict of light and shadow. By building up the lines and then distorting them, the eye shifts to see new lines emerge in between. For Stocker, the experience is implied as much by its gaps as it is by its contours.

The distortion created by glitches, short-lived faults in a digital system, also formed the design process of this collection, creating a new unexpected beauty of imperfection. The optical manipulation within the garments is based on hypnotic repetitive patterns in a minimal palette of black and white only, in order to delineate the silhouettes and textures.

New techniques in this collection include soft 3D hand-casted PU fabrics that are hand-painted through injection molding and fine expandable laser-cut Mylar fabrics reminiscent of digital glitches in collaboration with architect Philip Beesley. The copper–plated diagonal heels shift the balance of the shoe, leaving a rectangular gap between the lines.

Ms. van Herpen has not stopped pushing the boundaries of what defines art and fashion in recent years. Next month, she will premiere a collaboration titled ‘Creation’ with choreographer Sasha Waltz in Berlin. The project is a continuation of Iris’s commitment to research and innovative technologies to bring abstraction to fruition. The performance will interweave dance costume design, and light artistry from designers Urs Schönebaum and Soundwalk Collective.

Iris van Herpen, Sasha Waltz, Berlin, choreography, Sasha Waltz dance, Michelle Crosland, A Rebel in Prada, Atlanta Fashion blog, high museum of art
‘Creation’ ensemble c: ute-zscharnt

Iris’s work has also continued to make splashes in fashion editorials and red carpets alike. The following pieces come from Iris’s ‘Seijaku’ Collection presented July, 2016 that explored the study of cymatics, which is the study of wave phenomena that visualizes sound waves as geometric patterns. As always, van Herpen explored new fabric techniques including stitching rubber, laser cutting, 3D moiré, and glass-blowing in silicone to create prisms in her designs.

Vogue Italia, Iris van Herpen, Seiijaku plisse, Michelle Crosland, A Rebel in Prada
Mia Gruenwald in the Seijaku plisse dress for Vogue Italia. Styling by Sayuri Bloom. Photo by Andrea Sortner.
Solange Knowles, Grammy Awards, Iris van Herpen, Grammys, Grammy red carpet 2017, Michelle Crosland, A Rebel in Prada
Solange Knowles accepting Best R&B Performance Award at the 2017 Grammys. Wearing Seijaku dress. Photo:

Come back tomorrow to get an inside look at the opening of “Iris van Herpen:Transforming Fashion” at the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Xoxo, Me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *