Distorting Reality at Iris Van Herpen And Schiaparelli at Couture Fashion Week #WearableWednesday

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The New York Times has a review of Iris Van Herpen’s latest collection, which featured injection molded dresses, 3D hand casting and more.

…Even more apropos, however, was Iris Van Herpen’s meditation on distortion, visual and psychological, done in collaboration with the German artist Esther Stocker. It was held in the darkened basement of the metallurgist’s headquarters, in a black room bisected with zigzagging white lines that rose and fell (literally) like tiny pyramids. People kept tripping over the hillocks on their way to their seats.

Ms. Van Herpen has never been one for fetishizing the past or heritage technique: Her focus is on the transformations wrought by technology, and how they change our understanding of, and perspective on, what is possible. So away with the beading! Away with paillettes and peplums! Enter polyurethane and injection molding; expandable laser-cut mylar and 3-D handcasting.

The shapes were simple, but the execution was not, and the result was eye-boggling: minidresses with squishy skeletal stripes picking out the curves and construction of the body; a long sheath dress shimmering in optical illusion waves; another trapping the body like a spider’s web of futuristic lace; and pajama-like trouser suits speckled with shards of crystal geometry. At the end, silk tulle was covered in hand-cast transparent “water drops” and cut like an enormous snowflake, as if the Sugar Plum Fairy had returned from a trip to Pluto and picked up a dress or two along the way.

“How could you sit in that?” muttered one observer.

The answer is: It does not matter. Sitting is not the point. For Ms. Van Herpen, couture is an ideas laboratory, and the collection is her research paper. It was, according to the show notes, about exploring “the imperfections of systems and structures in both the physical and digital worlds.” In those glitches, she found beauty.

Read more.


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