Iris van Herpen is perhaps the most original fashion designer who you have never heard of, though to call her a fashion designer is like calling Jonny Ive a mere computer designer.
Iris van Herpen works somewhere in the intersection of technology, art and fashion. She is a serial experimenter whose works defy conventional fashion categorisation. Her "Hacking Infinity" collection for Fall Winter 2015, for example, explores the idea of "terraforming" (the transformation of the biosphere of other planets to resemble that of earth). To realise her vision of "planetary bodies" and the unfolding of a "boundless hackable infinity", van Herpen designed a 3D woven material made of an extremely light and translucent stainless steel weave which was then burnished and formed into unique shapes which adorn the dresses. Other unusual techniques used in her creations include injection-moulding, laser-cutting and 3D printing. The latter was used to spectacular effect for her Spring Summer 2016 collection show, where a dress was 3D-printed directly onto a model in front of a live audience.
In an industry that is obsessed with newness, Iris van Herpen is one of very few designers whose works are driven purely by creativity. In recognition of her bold vision, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta is showing a retrospective of her work, featuring 45 outfits from 15 collections; a rare accolade for a designer who is only 31 years old. Not to be missed.
Iris van Herpen - Transforming Fashion is on at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta from 7 November 2015 to 15 May 2016.
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