Iris Van Herpen Couture Spring Summer 2012 Paris


"For me fashion is an expression of art that is very closely related to myself and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, mood and cultural setting." (Iris van Herpen).

Throughout all of her work Iris tries to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, it is showing and wearing art. The essence of Van Herpen is expressing the character and emotions of a unique and individual woman and to extend the shape of the feminine body in detail. For her new collection Iris van Herpen has been inspired by nature (a primary concentration for the artist) and that's what Iris van Herpen is reflecting through her new Haute Couture collection. Microscopic organisms from the real world, she has been influenced by this invisible world exists for many only under the lens of an expert.

In order to create her collection and fit her theme, she decided to use 3D printing; she managed to create her own styles and signature materials by combining traditional craftsmanship, high-level of handwork and innovative techniques. The avant-garde aspect of her style's spirit goes through creation but also raw materials, she likes radical fabric choices such as leather, synthetic boat rigging, Plexiglas or the whalebones of children's umbrellas. The result gives a sculptural effect with an astonishing visual impact.

The main colors of this collection are light: white and beige but also ray-grey, brown, copper, dark metal silver and metallic aubergine.

This collection is a collaboration of Iris van Herpen with hat designer Stephen Jones, artist Bart Hess, architect Isaie Bloch, graphic designer Tara Doughans and with United Nude for a new pair of shoes named FANG.

-Mario Casarella



Amongst those in the fashion world Iris van Herpen is known to push the boundaries of Haute Couture. Her collections combine art with digital technology and traditional craftsmanship leaving her contemporaries dumbfounded as well as in demand by the likes of Lady GaGa and Bjork.

Van Herpen’s latest Spring/Summer 2012 collection was no exception. Using nature and the microscopic world as her source of inspiration, the latest series was adorned with innovative creations; one dress gave the impression of an aging tree trunk while another gave a translucent glow replicating the effect of a snake that had just lost its skin. In terms of technique, the latter was van Herpen’s personal favourite considering each part was made meticulously by hand.

In keeping with her trademark futuristic style, models walked robotically down the runway thanks to outfits that fit like a glove. Innovative materials included leather, synthetic boat rigging, plexiglass, copper, and like previous collections Van Herpen’s collaboration with United Nude lead to the creation of a new pair of shoe called FANG. The name says it all.

Evidently, the question begs to be asked why such a fashion forward designer is continuously invited to bring her shows to Paris, often considered one of the more classic homes of the fashion world’s big four. When quizzed on the topic, van Herpen’s reply was that it was for the ‘surprise’ that her and her collections bring to the audience. Good news for French fashion followers in search of a designer offering something different to the norm.

There’s no doubt that since the launch of the label in 2007 van Herpen has gotten stronger each season. In 2009 she won an award at the Dutch Fashion Awards, and returned in 2010 to receive another three. This year her schedule includes an exhibition at the Groninger museum as well as the launch of her very own book. Suffice to say we’ll be seeing a lot more of the talented designer considering she is still only in her twenties!

- Pascale Barget


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