The future of couture is 3D as Iris van Herpen shares a fantasy world of microscopic prints for spring/summer 2012 and presents a digital take on nature.
Q+A UK has been quite impressed with the extreme experimentation and daring innovation of Dutch designer, Iris van Herpen since the launch of her namesake label in 2007. For spring/summer 2012, she looked into the future of couture with 3D dresses intended to capture the beauty of the natural world. Taking inspiration from microorganisms that can only be captured under a specialized lens, Van Herpen explored the beauty of the unknown. Challenging our perceptions of couture, outlandish techniques were used to blur the boundaries of fashion and art.
Van Herpen enjoys contradictions and her designs are a continuous exploration of merging nature with technology. She is a designer who is always willing to experiment with technology and this season combined graphic design with metal work and model making. Unafraid to present the obscure, raw materials came in a range of hues from white and beige, to grey and copper, to metallic aubergine. The profound visual impact was induced with a range of cropped dresses that took us to another world. Alien-like in structure and print, fine handwork was set against a futuristic digital backdrop. Van Herpen remains faithful to her ethos of fashion as art, and certainly the metallic cape that had a mirrored effect was an expressive statement to be admired rather than worn.
The microscopic world that occupies the terrain beneath our feet was quite literally brought to life on the runway. Escorting the models were shoes designed in collaboration with United Nude. The shape of the wedge is so complex that each one consists of fiberglass and carbon fiber, made in a slow molding process. Named Fang, the shoes echoed the movements of underground creatures and with ten sharp teeth to each foot that was a dramatic dalliance for imaginative dressing. Bodices of metal armour, sculpted wood dresses, spiked hems and shoulder pieces gave us an insight into a new kind of feminine shape and structure. It is no surprise then that Van Herpen has been likened to Alexander McQueen. The other worldly essence of the Dutch designer’s collections was most likely inspired by her time working alongside the late great visionary.
This collection was about using innovative techniques and materials to explore unfamiliar fashion territory. The designs may not be to everyone’s liking, but by daring to mould technology to suit her creative desires, Van Herpen’s approach to couture merges fashion and art to create transcendental ethos of fashion.