PARIS--Iris Van Herpen is perhaps one of the most creative designers we’ve seen during couture week. Her clothes are made from materials and techniques that are rarely seen in a fashion studio, ranging from plastics used for product design to methods used in architecture.
Her collection yesterday was inspired by digital technology--and that was expressed both in technique and in design.
Her clothes are made using various computer programs, which “allows me to obtain results that would be impossible to do entirely by hand," Iris told us about her trademark fish scale-like plastic materials, created out of thousands of superimposed, hair-thin strips.
As for the clothes, they looked like they walked right out of Avatar, and we had to keep reminding ourselves we weren’t staring into our computer screen.
Ranging from grey, fish skin-like curved shoulder pads to white dresses evoking clouds, Iris' clothes imitated digital reality with an eye-popping 3D effect.
The show felt more like performance art than a fashion show; the models were portrayed as portable sculptures in couture dresses. Can one draw the line between art, fashion, and product design? “No, it’s always a mix of all these disciplines,” the designer told us.
We came out of the show dazzled by the intricacy and charmed by its eccentricity, but pondered this: Iris, like other houses such as On Aura Tout Vu, makes us love couture but it isn’t exactly wearable.
Is this what couture is about? Or should it be somewhat realistic and more commercial? Haute couture customers aren’t plentiful but they exist and the houses owe them their survival.
What do you think?
**Images by Michel Zoeter