Sometimes, Blog Reader, I play the ‘if-I-were-a-supermodel-game’ of choosing which designers I should like to wear should I have my pick of the catwalks. In this fantasy I am usually dressed in Iris Van Herpen, designer of haute couture, an astonishing combination of fine handwork techniques and futuristic technology. Vogue said of Van Herpen, ‘If Lady Gaga and Alexander McQueen ever had a love child it would probably produce someone like Iris van Herpen. The 27 year old designer from the Netherlands has a flare for the dramatic and a sculpture’s eye for design’. Often collaborating with artists and scientists in the creation of her garments, this 2011 collection ‘Capriole‘ (Van Herpen’s debut in Paris as a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture) is one of my favourites.
From her website:
“Iris van Herpen made her debut in Paris as member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture with this collection. Besides being a compilation of highlights from previous collections, this new collection also presented five striking outfits that evoke the feeling just before and during a free-fall parachute jump. A ‘leap in the air’ (the meaning of the French word Capriole) that Van Herpen once in a while takes to reset her body and mind. The five outfits are a reflection of the extreme feelings experienced during that jump. For instance, the dress consisting of serpentine forms made of black acrylic sheets, nicknamed the ‘snake dress’, evokes the mental state at the moment before the jump when, as Van Herpen explains, ‘all my energy is in my head and I feel as though my mind is snaking through thousands of bends For me fashion is an expression of art that is very closely related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting’.”
Like another designer I admire, Liz Black, Van Herpen focusses on the theme of the female body. Her pieces express the character and emotions of a woman and extend the shape of the feminine body in detail.
“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 than its beginning. Wearing clothing creates an 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.”
Of course there is the question of how Van Herpen’s designers translate into functional pieces for the modern woman’s wardrobe. But as fantasy and inspiration goes, my supermodel status dreams have me on the Van Herpen catwalk.