The T has profiled the god Iris van Herpen, Dutch fashion designer for a new future, celebrating the innovative and purely artistic way she uses technology and scientific inspiration to create heretofore unseen garments—the kinds of dresses princesses from 2072 can dream of.
When we meet in her Amsterdam studio one afternoon in late February, I ask van Herpen, whose mild accent and owlish eyes give her an ethereal affect, whether all those serious scientists and tech types ever roll their eyes at a fashion designer's curiosity. "I think that if I would make very commercial clothes, I would get that feedback," she replies. "The funny thing is that I often meet people who say, 'I'm not interested in fashion normally, but it's interesting what you do.' I think that they realize how much work there is in fashion and that there can be an element of the art in it."
While the piece has a few sus lines (i.e. "[she is wearing] a jumpsuit bifurcated at the (breathtakingly small) waist with a lacquered black belt"—I know this is establishment fashion writing but like, really? Can Iris van Herpen's waistline live), the accompanying video is a dream for anyone who's obsessed with her otherworldly textiles. I've always imagined van Herpen crafting her art inside a room decorated with replicas of deep-sea life at hydrothermal vents, just like the exhibit at the Natural History Museum. (She would, of course, listen to the soundtrack that accompanies it, too—a spacious cacophony of theremins, I guess.) Turns out, her studio is as normal as any designer's—large block tables for drafting and sewing, mannequins for sizing, racks for storing, and the ubiquitous concrete warehouse walls. The bare nature of her environment is a stronger indicator of how sharply her vision lives in her head, brought to life through new materials yet relying on "traditional technique and handiwork," she says. The garments are covetable, and shout out to the cat.
Image via screenshot
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