The boundaries between art and fashion are always blurred with Iris Van Herpen, while innovation and philosophy stand at the forefront of her work. Expect the unexpected.
Immediately inside of the Faculté de Médecines Descartes in Paris’ 6th district, a model in an enormous cream dress covered with black netting lies motionless on a circular platform. The model, Gwendoline Christie, best-known for her role as Brienne of Tarth in HBO’s Game Of Thrones, is the centerpiece of van Herpen's spring/summer 2016 show. Surrounded by three giant sculptures by Jolan Van Der Wiel, Christie almost steals the show.
Around her, nymph-like models walk with a light gait. Their shoes (made in collaboration with Finsk), named “airborne,” made it look like they were floating over the ground. The tall platform shoes are a design reminiscent of Alexander McQueen, with a sole attached by a tall, narrow stem. Since 2010, the Dutch designer has incorporated 3D printing into her collections in both garments and shoes. In her SS16 collection, she continues using the technology with unquestionable style. The show’s title, “Quaquaversal” (a geological term meaning “sloping downward from the center in all directions”), is an entry into the general look of the pieces in this collection: each dress appears to flow from a single point, and is adorned in 3D detailing.
The enchanting models wear dresses completely interlaced with tiny details. The new designs are interactive in a similar way to some of van Herpen's earlier pieces that incorporate sounds generated by touch. The models' faces gently shimmer under delicately tied hair. White, peach, and grey are the palette from which van Herpen chooses, creating a sparkling brightness. Van Herpen even used a three-dimensional mesh and a leather lace beautified with Swarovski crystals.
By combining techniques, the designer experiments with how the body interacts with its environment. “Van Herpen’s work reveals the secret structures of our existence giving us a multidimensional experience of what it is to be alive, it is an investigation into the past, present and future in all its primal and mythological forms,” Gwendoline Christie says about the collaboration. Always weird but always beautiful.
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