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Iris van Herpen's Latest Collection Looks Like Aliens Invaded Versailles

Or at least, that's our prediction, if this crazy video for "Voltage," directed by Geoffrey Lillemon and Joost Korngold, is any indication.
January 21, 2013, 5:12pm

Dutch high-tech couturist Iris van Herpen presented her new collection at the Spring 2013 Haute Couture shows in Paris today, and a few of the looks have since surfaced online. But before then, the one-minute teaser video (above) was our only source of insight into her new collection, Voltage.

Since she started showing her line five years ago, van Herpen has become a major proponent of the 3D-printed garment, and her inspiration ranges from all sorts of conceptual alchemy—micro-organisms, chemical processes, synesthesia, and responsive architecture. She's even made custom designed dresses for Björk.

If the Voltage teaser video was any indication, directed by Geoffrey Lillemon and Joost Korngold, we predicted her S/S 2013 couture collection would be gilded, opulent, and maybe even musical (OK, so not quite).

We spoke to Lillemon and Korngold who broke down the visuals, meaning, and tech behind the fashion film.

The Creators Project: How did you come up with the concept video for Voltage?


Geoffrey Lillemon and Joost Korngold: We wanted to play with the idea of the shapes' presence in a physical space, a lot of the beauty of the garment sculptures is how they bounce and reflect light in space. The first inspiration came from seeing her show at Paris Fashion Week last year. This lead to conversations about making a video. First off, we wanted to combine the warmth of the luxurious interiors of Versailles and mix that with the alien couture ideas of Iris. So in this case the brief was very open, and we all collaborated in a way that used everyone's strengths.

What was the feeling you were trying to invoke with the opulent setting?

It was important to juxtapose a warm romantic interior with abstraction, so we sourced the 3D palace data from Evermotion for the interiors. This allowed us to produce the project rather quickly and in an efficient way, allowing us to focus on a beautiful shader that would re-texturize the environment to feel like a magical kingdom made of glass, and create the 3D shapes to interact in that space.

How were the 3D sculptures created and how do they relate to the collection?

The 3D sculptures were inspired by Iris' collection, but did not directly relate to the designs. This interpretative approach gave us liberty to make something beautiful without having to focus on the details of making a 3D translation of a physical garment.

Joost Korngold: I used 3ds Max to create the 3D sculptures. I started by drawing a single spline and deformed it by using twist and bend modifiers. Then I multiplied the splines to create the base spline model of the sculpture, and added the render spline modifier to give thickness to the spline model. From here, I animated the values of the twist, bend, and angle of the render spline thickness to bring the sculpture to life.


Geoffrey Lillemon: Then I took the assets from Joost and brought them into 3ds Max and started working on a reflective shader and the lighting mixed with our assets of 3D palace interior data. The idea was to merge the warmth and luxury of a palace with 3D shapes to put them in the context of sculptural forms that are real and making music, like the ghost harp idea, giving a new life to abstract 3D.

Korngold creates a single spline in 3ds Max.

Then multiples the splines.

And finally increases the splines' thickness.

Do you think a fashion film is an essential asset to a fashion collection? Why or why not?

Yes, it provokes a fantasy and a curiosity to lure people into the experience of the collection. It sets the mood and template for art and fashion dancing, and in this case, doing so to the metalic ghost harps of the electrified movement of Voltage.

Take a closer look at the 3D forms below…


Directed by: Geoffrey Lillemon and Joost Korngold

Sound design: Breek (Salvador Breed and Stijn van Beek)

Production design: Random Studio

Images courtesy of Joost Korngold