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Dutch couturier Iris van Herpen has always had a way of mesmerising with
her fantasy fashion made with cutting-edge technology, with movement a key
theme, and for autumn/winter 2019 her haute couture collection showcased in
Paris’s Élysée Montmartre was inspired by the wind-powered kinetic outdoor
work of American artist Anthony Howe.
“The ‘Hypnosis’ collection is a hypnotic visualisation of nature’s
tapestry, the symbiotic cycles of our biosphere that interweave the air,
land, and oceans,” explained Iris van Herpen in the show notes. “It also
reflects the ongoing dissection of the rhythms of life and resonates with
the fragility within these interwoven worlds.’
Hypnotic is the right word, the collection finds inspiration through the
hypnotic manifolds within our ecologies, reflecting the beauty and
destruction of humans on nature’s lifestyles, with an examination of the
patterns and structures in what the couturier describes as a “fragile
This is showcased through Howe’s three-dimensional cyclical spherical
‘Omniverse’ sculpture, which is described as the “wind beneath the wings of
this couture collection” and the infinite expansion and contraction,
represents life cycles, while the “meditative movements” of the hypnotic
spirals of the installation hung above the catwalk served as a portal for
the collection and models.
Iris van Herpen displays cutting-edge technology with AW19 couture
To create her technological ‘Hypnosis’ couture, van Herpen collaborated
with Professor Philip Beesley to create a technique that involves tens of
thousands of plotter cut mini ripples that continuously dissect the dress
through each movement of the body, revealing skin in between the whimsical
spheroid patterns. The printed Duchesse-satin is plotter cut into thousands
of 0.8 mm exquisite waves that each are interlinked, designed to move faster than the
eye can follow.
While the ‘Dichotomy’ looks are laser-printed, heat-bonded and laser-cut
into contra-positive waves. Each dissected curve is then pressed onto
hundreds of ripple-like panels that ebb and flow in an exquisite swell of
meticulously hand-stitched silk organza.
Key looks included the finale ‘Infinity’ dress, which was brought to
life through a finely balanced mechanism. The engineered skeleton of
spirals made of aluminium, stainless steel and bearings, was embroidered
with a delicate layering of feathers in cyclical flight, which revolves
around its own centre.
While other dresses looked like ink floating on water cascading down the
body, as an interpretation of the Japanese art of Suminagashi, where liquid
lines of shimmering dyed silk were cut by laser technique, before being
pressed with heat on transparent tulle, so that they seem to flow
seamlessly over the skin.
Another stunning look was constructed from multi-layered luminous
organza spheres, which challenge the relationship between surface and
substance through illusory patterns that wrap into each other infinitely,
to create a blurring pattern.
Images: courtesy of Iris van Herpen