Iris van Herpen’s Kinetic Couture Wins Fashion Week

Regarded as one of the most innovative designers of our time, Iris van Herpen’s experimental work continues to redefine couture.

Through her latest collection ‘Hypnosis’, the Avant-garde designer once again exceeds the limits of traditional design, becoming the first fashion designer to develop a 3D printed dress for a collection.

Debuted at Paris Couture Week, the fashion tech collection is inspired by environmental kinetic sculptor, Anthony Howe. Similar to Howe’s work, ‘Hypnosis’ explores the complexities of natural structures and the patterns that exist within our environment. In van Herpen’s words, the collection is “a hypnotic visualisation of nature’s tapestry, the symbiotic cycles of our biosphere that interweave the air, land, and oceans.”

Intrigued by the way its arching skeleton concurrently expands and contracts, van Herpen placed Howe’s ‘Omniverse’ sculpture at the runway’s centre. Acting as both the physical and conceptual introduction to the collection, the kinetic sculpture encircled the models as they walked the runway, creating a state of hypnosis.

This season van Herpen embedded a different discipline into her work, melding artisanal techniques with modern, digital technology. The designer fused ancient methods of hand stitching and Japanese marbling with laser-printing, heat-bonding and laser-cutting, to create an ethereal range. Comprised of illusory silhouettes and kinetic dresses made from layers of silk moiré and incandescent organza, the garments captivated audiences as they came to life on the runway.

Made from rotating aluminium wings, stainless steel, and feathers, the ‘Infinity’ dress was an unequivocal standout. The finale dress captured the essence of Howe’s ‘Omniverse’ sculpture and perfectly embodied the theme of the collection.

Van Herpen rebels against the confines of haute couture and its insistence that couture must be entirely handmade. She contends that “couture is evolving, and technology brings it into the 21st century. It offers new possibilities to create materials that are more conscious of our environmental footprint.”

As one of the few designers creatively blending technology with analogue techniques, van Herpen writes herself into fashion history.

Watch the runway video below: