f you haven’t yet heard the name Iris van Herpen, you soon will. The Dutch fashion designer only graduated from the ARTEZ School of Arts in Arnhem in 2006, but already her unique fashions have been much written about. Having just shown her last collection Escapism at the 2011 Paris Fashion Week, it’s clear that she continues to push the haute couture envelope. Her previous collections all featured elaborately constructed fashions that resemble art. Hardly RTW (‘ready to wear’ for those non-fashionistas), her designs rival Viktor & Rolf’s in their irreverence and craftsmanship and Giles Deacon in imagination. And yes, like all brink designers, in some cases the ensembles are just plain creepy. Escapism is a continuation of the collaboration between London based architect Daniel Widrig and Iris van Herpen. The project started with Crystallization, the first fashion collection ever featuring 3d printed dresses. Crystallization was launched at the Amsterdam Fashion Week in 2010. Escapism attempted to further investigate possibilities and potentiality of advanced digital design techniques and computer aided manufacturing in the realm of haute couture fashion design. Based on earlier experiences made with digitally manufactured dresses, Escapism pushes the limits of 3D printing in order to increase the wearability of the pieces. The dresses are composed of clusters of fiber-like elements with minimized diameters. The fineness of the printed lines of the fabric makes the overall objects lightweight, flexible and allows for an economic production. The geometric concept further allowed the designers to create larger objects without comprimising wearability and the model’s mobility on the catwalk. The collection was produced in collaboration with New York based label .MGX by Materialise via selective laser sintering (SLS) in Polyamide.
From van Herpen’s site:
Normal rules don’t apply… Iris van Herpen stands for a reciprocity between craftsmanship and innovation in technique and materials, while creating modern couture with a futuristic digital craft. Van Herpen forces fashion to the extreme contradiction between beauty and regeneration. It is her unique way to reevaluate reality and to express and underline individuality. The essence of van Herpen is expressing the character and emotions of an unique woman and to extend the shape of the feminine body in detail. She mixes craftsmanship – using old and forgotten techniques – with innovation and materials inspired on the world to come. “For me fashion is an expression of art that is very close related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting. In all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art, and not just a functional and devoid of content or commercial tool. With my work I intend to show that fashion can certainly have an added value to the world, that it is timeless and that its consumption can be less important then its beginning. Wearing clothing can create a very exciting and imperative form of self-expression. ‘Form follows function’ is not a slogan with which I concur. On the contrary, I find that forms complement and change the body and thus the emotion. Movement, so essential to and in the body, is just as important in my work. By bringing form, structure and materials together in a new manner, I try to suggest and realize optimal tension and movement.”