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Iris Van Herpen...whoa!

Aug 27, 2013

Iris van Herpen is one of fashion’s most forward thinking designers. Whilst others are churning out ball gowns or cocktail dresses to send down the catwalk, van Herpen uses her runway as a platform for innovation. Utilizing cutting edge processes like 3-D printing to create cocoon like shapes and sculptural forms, van Herpen plays with ideas around body modification and surgical perfection. The world of science and nature never seem to be far away. It's hard to put a name to it but as you view her collections you're reminded of bony, ancient underwater creatures, microphotography of tiny, unseen insect life.

Iris van Herpen has collaborated on her collections with a number of artists from various disciplines, often on a recurring basis: choreographer and dancer Nanine Linning, visual artist Bart Hess, architect Daniel Widrig, milliner Stephen Jones, milliner, architect Isaie Bloch, filmmaker Zach Gold, graphic designer Tara Dougans, and director and filmmaker Joost Vandebrug.

Design is a collaborative process and it is her relationship with shoe brand United Nude’s Rem D. Koolhaas and Stratasys, one of the world’s leaders in 3D printing, that has led to a line of shoes. The wonderful “Fang” shoes seen on her 2012 runway had ten sharp teeth to each foot. The shape of the wedge is so complex that each one consists of fiberglass and carbon fiber, made in a slow molding process. The dramatic growth of a banyan tree inspired another shoe giving the effect of the shoe being grown rather than digitally created. Stratasys joined forces for the realization and creation of these amazing and very sculptural shoes.

Even in the lavish world of couture, Van Herpen’s designs stand out as ground breaking, destined for a place in forward fashion editorials and fashion themed museum exhibits. Yet, her work is so full of ideas that they are quickly being adapted and incorporated into everything from commercial sportswear to furniture design. Keep your eyes open.