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The Universal Magazine

Iris Van Herpen: When Haute Couture Marries Technology

Discover the Dutch designer Iris van Herpen at the Museum of Decorative Arts

Iris van Herpen, a Dutch designer known for her transgressive approach to fashion, blends art, nature, and technology to create spectacular pieces. Her sources of inspiration are varied, and her creations seem to come straight out of fantastical worlds.

Born in Wamel, near the town of the painter Jérôme Bosch, Iris was influenced by his esoteric works, developing an interest in chimeras and mystical creatures. Her passion for fashion comes from her grandmother, and her journey led her to the Arnhem Academy of Arts, and then to an internship with Alexander McQueen.

In 2007, at the age of 23, she founded her own brand and unveiled her first collection, Chemical Crows, illustrating her unique signature: the alchemy of materials. She mixes umbrella bones and industrial threads to evoke moving feathers.

In 2009, her collection Mummification explores the macabre beauty of Egyptian mummies with unexpected materials such as lace, motorcycle chains, and metal beads.

Her collaboration in 2010 with the architectural firm Benthem Crouwel marked a turning point with the introduction of 3D printers into her creations. She thus created the dress Crystallization, imitating the movement of water. This innovation opened the doors of the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion (FHCM), despite her small team in Amsterdam and her intensive use of 3D printing.

Her creations, resembling wearable sculptures, are prized by celebrities such as Beyoncé, Tilda Swinton, and the Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

Her dresses are masterpieces of innovation and artistic expression that you can admire at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris until April 28, 2024.