Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion surveys 15 collections of the dynamic, innovative work of Dutch designer Iris van Herpen. Renowned for her use of 3-D printing, van Herpen is widely considered one of contemporary fashion’s most progressive creators and is a favored designer of style icons, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Björk, Cara Delevingne, and others.
Since her first collection in 2007, van Herpen has made a name for herself within and beyond the fashion world by combining tradition with radical innovation. Unparalleled in her multidisciplinary approach to creation, she has collaborated with artists, architects, and scientists such as Philip Beesley, Jólan van der Wiel, and Bart Hess, as well as teams at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2011, TIME Magazine included her 3-D printed dresses on its list of 50 Best Inventions. Van Herpen is hailed as a pioneer for her use of 3-D printing as a construction technique and guiding aesthetic principle, utilizing the technology to create sculptural garments with unfamiliar forms.
Phoenix Art Museum is the western-most destination on the North American tour of the exhibition, and the last chance to see these extraordinary collections of futuristic fashions. Featuring 45 ensembles created from 2008 – 2015, the minimalistic installation will also include a selection of her fantastical shoe designs and runway show footage. A featured work is a dress from her 2014 collection Biopiracy, on view for the first time since it was purchased by Arizona Costume Institute to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the fashion design collection and the Museum.
About Iris van Herpen
Contemporary Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen has won international acclaim as one of the most visionary designers of the twenty-first century. Van Herpen takes fashion into the future. Credited with introducing 3-D printing to fashion, the designer seamlessly blends high-tech processes with traditional handwork, creating imaginative sculptural garments from materials as diverse as metal umbrella ribs, industrial yarns, woven metal, leather strips and transparent acrylic. Her work has been worn by celebrities including Lady Gaga, Tilda Swinton, Beyoncé, and Bjork and has graced the runways of Amsterdam, London, and Paris. During a runway show in 2015, she used robots to print a dress over Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie.
While studying at the prestigious ArtEZ Institute of Arts, Arnhem, van Herpen held internships with Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. In 2011, at age 27, van Herpen became the youngest person to exhibit in the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, and in 2014 was awarded the highly prestigious ANDAM Award. Her designs are currently featured in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Her unique aesthetic has been lauded by TIME Magazine, InStyle and Women’s Wear Daily, among other notable publications. Van Herpen’s 2006 graduation collection Machine Jewellery demonstrated her interest in the visualization of elusive concepts and intangible elements and her inventiveness in material use and treatment. A year after graduating, she began designing womenswear collections under her own name.
“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. Wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression,” says van Herpen of her artistic philosophy.
“For each collection, Iris has a vision of what she wants to create and then problem-solves to make it a reality. That is what artists do. They are not bound by the perceived limits of their materials. Iris has often accomplished this through her collaborations with engineers, architects, and artists in other fields. It is inspiring to see this very twenty-first-century intersection of art and innovative technology in her work,” says Cincinnati Art Museum Curator of Fashion Arts and Textiles Cynthia Amnéus.